Assignment3: Spaces to places

Assignment3: Spaces to places

Within a series of up to 12 photographs, explore a landscape, or a small part of a landscape, which you believe to have some kind of significance. This may be a landscape with which you have a personal relationship, or it may be somewhere that is more widely known. You may wish to begin your research with your findings from the local history exercise (3.5).

The objective of this assignment is to engage with the question of how a ‘space’ becomes a ‘place’. Your project should put into practice the idea that a ‘place’ is a constructed, subjective term that, for whatever reason (political, industrial, mythological, environmental), is imposed upon, or becomes associated with, a particular ‘space’. This may be a very specific location, or it may be a more generic type of space.

You’re free to approach this project with whatever strategy you feel is appropriate to your subject matter.

Introduce your work with a supporting text (around 500 words), as in previous assignments.

Liminal originates from the Latin word “limen” which means “a threshold”(1)

It is that space in between two happenings when one state has ended an the other has not yet begun. Heather Plett says it can be cultural, tradition, identity etc. It suggests uncertainty, ambiguity, fear, discomfort and anguish It’s the space between, when a trapeze artist let’s go of one swing and doesn’t yet know whether she’ll be able to reach the other swing (2). She speaks from a psychological point of view but the description fits the spatial. Another psychologist, Carrie Barron M.D. believes that if we find ourselves in a liminal space we need to be patient and tolerate the anxiety and develop the faith that things will take shape. (3).

Artists that have produced work on liminal spaces include, among many others, Patricia Johnson (4), Marina Abramovic (5) and Hiroshi Sugimoto (6). The latter artist was recommended by my tutor. His work differs greatly from Abramovic. His seascapes divide the image in two with one half, sometimes the sea and sometimes the sky, almost totally black and the other grey to white. One moves from the white to the black across the horizon or liminal space. Abramovic worked with people having groups cross boundaries to a liminal space and hopefully to a brighter space on the other side.

As stated in my diary I put in the search terms ‘liminal space’ and ‘seascapes’ into a google search and came up with a set of very similar images, blue/white sea scenes. None of these greatly inspired me. I did a mind map to see if I could generate some ideas about what liminal spaces meant to me and where I saw them.


Mind map for Liminal Spaces

The more I thought about these spaces the more I was aware of them around me. I will continue to expand this map.

From here I set out to find my liminal spaces between land and sea. I took a lot of images and created thumbnails. I cut these up and arranged them in different themes in my physical log book.




















Two different approaches were emerging. First there was the hard space between the land, for example bollards or walls, and then the softer foreshore or sandy area leading into the sea.

I decided to pursue the latter and to try to video this area. I realise that the brief asked for photo images but I felt that a video would better express what I had in my head. My first morning on the beach was foggy. I felt this atmosphere ideal to create the ambiguity I was looking for between the land and the sea. I have not used my camera a great deal to create videos so I am unfamiliar with the settings. The first few videos were unsatisfactory. My second visit to the beach was windy but clear so I needed to improvise by ‘hawing’ on the lens. These were better but still not as I wanted. Four visits later I felt I had enough footage with which  to work.


As with my previous video for C&N I feel there is a whole lot I do not know. I am wondering is there a better programme for editing than iMovie. I find it non intuitive. I find the transitions a bit jerky despite my efforts to smooth them out with extending the transition time and using the precision editor.

With regard to the content I like some of the work but am not sure how the stills integrate into the video strips. For me knowing the territory and the work I thought, finally, after about ten attempts they worked together.

I was happy that I could detach the audio from a long video clip and run it for the whole of the final video.



After a very fruitful discussion with my tutor where he pointed out that he appreciated my risk taking in producing the video he did not think that it fulfilled the brief and was not of as high a standard with my other work. I am now doing what I should have done before I started this project and that is trying to learn how to use my camera as a video machine. I have started my research here(8)

My tutor recommended that I look at two photographers work: Stephen Hughes(9)

There was only a single image here of a house which left me confused. I realised it was probably situated on the edge in a liminal space between town and country but I did not see it as relevant. Maybe more relevant for my Wastelands essay. I did find another site where there was a lot more of Huges work and this certainly did give examples of liminal spaces (10). The most relevant images are the ones displayed


A second recommendation was Michael Kenna (11). This work is aesthetically magnificent. I will look and look again at it. The attached imaged is a haunting liminal space.








For my own assignment he suggested that perhaps three triptych going from hard land to sea, followed by less hard division to eventual soft liminal space between land and sea.

I decided to consider his advice and rework the project but had some material already made which could be used but made some new images.










I am reasonably happy with these triptych but feel the whole lacks punch. Liminal spaces should have mystery, uncertainty and tension. I am not sure these three sets have all of these qualities.

So I put my original video on one of the discus forums and had a really lively discussion. I note some of it here.



I put my original video up for discussion on a forum hangout. Here are some of the comments/critiques I got:

Cive White:

Touch of the going through the stargate in 2001 and Tales From Topographic Oceans.There’s some cool stuff going on there, I don’t think it’s very far off at all. As you say I think some of the transitions are too fast for the overall rhythm of the piece which makes it disturbing, as do the slight changes in the tilt of the horizon line, for no particularly good reason.

I know what I’d like to get out of it as an experience and those factors are stymieing it to no added value.

Otherwise :+1: :+1:

Peter Haveland:

Yeh, the problems are in the editing not the equipment or at the shooting stage. I think that you need longer sections and fewer transitions…short sequences and quich cutting might be the way things are done in the movies but in the gallery world, usually you need more time

Clive White:

Far be it from me to contradict your tutor but it depends what expectations you bring to the piece. If I was looking for a slick piece of realistic video work then it’s a mess but I always work from the basis that I’m seeing an approximation of what was intended by the artist; in this case a very evocative expressionistic emotional piece. As I say on that basis it’s nudging being a successful piece of work and it’s not for you to know what ‘I would like to get out of it’, that’s not one of your concerns. :slightly_smiling_face:


Ondhe suggestion from Clive and Peter I downloaded Premiere Pro software which is part of my Adobe CC. This YouTube video (12) is very useful as an introduction to getting started with the video editing.

I shot a new video with all the advice I had got on the forum. I worked on it asking and receiving help, on the forum, whenever I got stuck.

I came up with what I thought would be my final version but Clive’s observation made me decide to go that last step – or very nearly last step. I used the YouTube videos(13 & 14) but I could not slow the introductory title down any more. But other than that I am reasonably satisfied with the end product.I feel it expresses, better than my triptych images, that tension and mystery which I associate with Liminal Spaces.  It has been a long and uphill climb and I realise I have a lot to learn about video editing. But it has been a very exciting learning curve.

Here is my final effort which I am submitting for assessment



Despite the negative feedback from my tutor regarding the fact that the video did not fit the criteria of 12 images, I decided to keep trying to improve my video.  I felt like I was in a liminal space when I was videoing. I did not have the same feeling with making the images other than I did not want to fall into the sea while making some of them… Because this is a degree programme I felt that I knew reasonably well how to create a tryptich. But for me the challenge was to try to create a video which was of acceptable standard. I don’t know if I have achieved this but I do know that my appetite for trying to improve my videoing skill has truly been whetted.

With regard to the lack of evidence of research on improving my skills a look at the Discuss Forum on my work would, I feel, clearly indicate my efforts in this regard.

I hope I have incorporated all the other suggestions by my tutor.


  1. What Is A Liminal Space? |. 2018. What Is A Liminal Space? |. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 April 2018].
  2. Heather Plett. 2018. Holding liminal space – Heather Plett. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2018]
  3. Psychology Today. 2018. Creativity and the Liminal Space | Psychology Today. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 April 2018].
  4. Portia Priegert. 2018. Liminal Spaces – Galleries West. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2018]..
  5. E. St. Laurent. 2018. Liminal Rites of Transition | Marina Abramovic | E. St. Laurent. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 27 May 2018].
  6. Hiroshi Sugimoto. 2018. Seascapes — Hiroshi Sugimoto. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 27 May 2018].
  7. Portia Priegert. 2018. Liminal Spaces – Galleries West. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2018].
  8. Amateur Photographer. 2018. Master your camera: shooting video with your Nikon DSLR – Amateur Photographer. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 06 June 2018].
  9. Photofusion. 2018. Photography Exhibition | Stephen Hughes. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 05 June 2018].
  10. Robert Mann Gallery. 2018. Robert Mann Gallery — Artists – Hughes. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 05 June 2018].
  11. Michael Kenna. 2018. Michael Kenna. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 05 June 2018].
  12. YouTube. 2018. PREMIERE PRO TUTORIAL 2018 | For Beginners (in 4K) – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 19 June 2018].
  13. YouTube. 2018. Titles and Essential Graphics Tutorial in Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017 – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 15 July 2018].
  14. YouTube. 2018. Premiere Pro CC : How to do Text Fade In and Out – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 15 July 2018].

Edgelands | Dara McGrath. 2018. Edgelands | Dara McGrath. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 21 April 2018].



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