Between Presence and Program

I’m pleased to share the publication of a new book chapter: Between Presence and Program: The Photographic Error as Counter Culture which explores the intertwining of technology, embodiment and chance in photography – themes uncovered through In Pursuit of Error and the participation of its generous contributors.

Special thanks to Gail Griggs, Catalina Codreanu, Una Li, Melis Cantürk, Brett Chapman and my very own Fin Wright for allowing me to include their images alongside my text and bring it to life.

The chapter appears in the book Technology, Design and the Arts – Opportunities and Challenges  edited by Rae Earnshaw, Susan Liggett, Peter Excell and Daniel Thalman.  I’m delighted to share these pages with distinguished international authors and projects exploring the relationship between art and technology.  The book is Open Access so you can download the e-book for free!




To be free

Enrico Cameron

As a teacher and amateur photographer I held a short course on the photographic image for a middle school class in Italy. I showed the students many images taken from different photographers since the beginning of photography and I encouraged them to freely experiment with the camera. One girl took a night picture of some distant lights. Both the camera inability to autofocus and the natural hand tremors resulted in an image with interesting light paths over a black background.

Later I deliberately tried to replicate this photographic error with a low range compact digital camera during a summer vacation in Puglia (southern Italy). The bottom photo shows the result with the lights in a parking area and the top one the result with a lighthouse lamp. I did not intentionally wobble my hand to exaggerate the effect.

Down the d-rain

Benna, d-rain 16Benna, d-rain 21Benna, d-rain 36Benna, d-rain 44

Benna Gaean Maris

The photographs have been intentionally taken with a broken digital compact camera showing a melting and bluish picture: the perfect tool to depict a decadent and dismal cityscapes. The title of the project – D-Rain could be a wordplay between drain and digital-rain, as the picture seemed to drip and flow down the drain. After some shooting sessions, the camera died completely, making the footage almost unique.


Urban Trees XVIIUrban Trees V

Caroline Elliott

My photographs are taken at night, and often show restlessness, movement and flux. They are generally lit either by street lights, or moving artificial lights, under a long exposure time. They are not digitally altered. I welcome the role of chance, accidents, and imperfection. The defects in these two photographs  come from rain drops on the lens which causes hexagonal light reflections to appear, and from the camera moving accidentally, which causes light and colour distortions.

I am interested in the sense of disorientation, strangeness, and sometimes pathos, created by the wind moving branches, or by lights moving as the photograph takes place. By highlighting certain branches, or plants, there is a sense of alienation, isolation, but also mystery or beauty. When editing my photographs I choose only those which affect me emotionally.

Purple patch


Rosa-Maria Nuutinen

I’d planned a photoshoot with my friend and although she’s not a professional model
I’m still very precise about the images and how I style them. I found a backyard with an amazing white wall and only wanted to use white and different blues for the photoshoot.

Currently, I tend to use film cameras as I’m fond of their texture and especially how my old camera’s films turn out. This time though, I used one of my dad’s film rolls and he did mention that they were about 10 years old or even older but because I’m not that experienced within film I didn’t think anything of it.

After I developed the film I understood that films do expire. My whole plan for the shoot went down the drain because every image was purple, no white to be seen anywhere, that is why the shoot is called ‘Purple Series’.

Pleasant failures


Peter Veen

I am an visual artist, writer and enthusiastic cell phone photographer. The cell phone camera does not always behave as expected. And I kept a number of pleasant failures.

From the top:
Here the camera decided tot take a picture by itself.
The camera took an unexpected break, so I moved my hand, then the picture was taken after all.
The bee or wasp in the picture stung me in my neck while I was making a picture. To my surprise, the insect was in the picture.
The playing dog being too fast for the camera.

Broken vision

Ryan Boultbee

My photographic errors led to the creation of my Broken Camera Project series (2014-19):
The digital camera used for this project has a faulty light sensor which gives each image unique and unpredictable characteristic. The usual control a photographer would expect is taken away by uncertainties surrounding the image focus, colour, and exposure. The resulting photographs hold random serendipitous qualities dictated by the camera’s interpretation of the scene.

As a photographer you feel as if thought the technology allows you to step into an alternate reality; you compare the image and context. The series only presents the camera’s interpretation of the world to the viewer. You are thrown into its purple-tinged landscapes with no grasp on reality; you have no idea what is real and what is an error. The images are presented unedited as captured and interpreted by the camera. Over the last five years, the cameras sensory equipment has continued to degrade. Through the collection we observe the photographs drift further and further from reality and their blurring into the incomprehensible.

The artwork draws parallels between the death of man and technology; we observe an incremental disengagement with our reality that has similarities to a decline in mental ability and a loss of sensory capacity (e.g. dementia). Unusually, the project highlights the beauty of this process. At times, the camera almost seems to snaps almost back to reality, however, most images require the scene to be lit with extreme contrast to even be registered.

My work relates to the themes of perception and impairment. It aims to challenge viewers to engage with their everyday surroundings and landscapes through a different lens. I ask viewers to reconsider what they see and encourage them to imagine the world through the eyes of others. The project has captured hundreds of photos which will, when time allows, be curated for exhibition.