It’s been a while…

Its been a while since I last posted on this blog.

I have now started my MA in Research in Art & Design… which meant a new, fresh start.

For my new series I was set upon exploring my journey through IVF after a recent diagnosis of PCOS… but after a bit of research I found that this was too narrow and would have come to a draw too prematurely.

I thought of all of the different routes I could go based on my personal experience, after all, my work is always based around these subjects. And after a discussion with Maggie at University we came up with the best route for research… other parents in the same situation as me… working, studying parents who rarely find time for themselves.


This was when I started asking people I knew, that are also hard-working parents if I could photograph them in their spare time, doing the things that they love to do when they get a break from work and parenthood.

It is still very much early days for this project but I know it has potential to go further.


More shoots over the past 2 weeks…

Over the past two weeks I have been shooting lots, and have managed to get the film developed and all scanned in at irregular intervals, whenever I got chance.

Again it is all still based upon my daughter, documenting her relationships with close family members and seeing how they differ. Does her condition stop her from expressing her feelings for others??… definitely not!


Grandparents, Rebecca Newell 2017 (shot on 35mm Fuji Superia 800 film using Nikon F90X)

Holly has a very special bond with her grandparents, along with myself she has lived with them for all of her life so far. She hasn’t gone a day yet without seeing them, their bond is unbreakable. This image was taken at my In-Laws on a Sunday get-together for dinner at their house.


Shopping trip, Rebecca Newell 2017 (shot on 35mm Fuji Superia 800 film using Nikon F90X)

I knew that in order to get these natural shots I needed to carry my camera everywhere we went, even if that mean to the supermarket or on a trip to the park. In this photo above my Mom and Holly pick out some flowers as a gift for someones birthday, they have a very close bond due to living together for all of Holly’s life. She has always had her Nan around, due to us never leaving home.


Singing to the music, Rebecca Newell 2017 (shot on 35mm Agfa Vista 200 film using Nikon F90X)

This image shows Holly and her Stepdad singing to music on the iPad in our bedroom. I was sat on the other side of the bed doing my make up in the natural sunlight, I grabbed for my camera which was on my side table and started snapping away. I love these natural emotions expressed within the images.

I went to Poundland to try out some film from there, for £1 a roll it was well worth the try. Although the images are lower in vibrancy I feel that they work really well and I continue to shoot more over the next coming weeks in order to capture a large catalogue of images, therefore giving me more choice for finals. Whilst the film is so cheap it seems silly not to… more work to follow soon!

A busy week of shooting, developing and scanning…

Ive had a super busy week this week, shooting 6 rolls of film, sending it off to be developed and then sitting for hours on end scanning them all in!… but its been worth every second.

Ive managed to get some really effective shots this week by following the guidelines I set myself to capture Holly in natural, family moments. These range between family members and display their each individual bond with her.


Rebecca Newell. 35mm Agfa Vista 200. March 2017.

I have been spending a fortune on Fuji Superia film for the past few weeks so I decided I would try a few rolls of this film from Poundland (Agfa Vista) which does only shoot 24 frames, but for £1 I can’t complain… and although the colours are not quite so dominant compared to Fuji Superia I don’t think they are worlds apart, its nothing that can’t be adjusted in the scanning process. This image above shows an intimate moment between Holly and her stepfather, laughing over Holly singing along to the music blasting through her headphones.


Rebecca Newell. 35mm Agfa Vista 200. March 2017.

Here’s another image shot on the same day as the first one, it shows Holly standing impatiently at the bottom of the stair, waiting for her Nan to make her way downstairs. It is a regular occurrence for Holly to stand shouting from the bottom of the stairs for one of us to come down to her.

I have stocked up on more film and have got lots of ideas for further shoots this week, with plans to build a large portfolio of images to showcase at the Degree Show in a few months.  I really feel that in the past 2 weeks my work has developed a huge amount and is starting to take shape as an effective series of images really showcasing Holly’s relationships with her family members.

This weeks shoot… back with my old friend film…

I had some great advice given to me last week by the super talented Sian Davey whilst attending a talk held by her at Wolverhampton University in the West Midlands. I stayed behind after the talk for a little chat about my work, which documents my daughter.

I showed Sian my current work and the process from the start of this documenting journey, which involved a wide range of different shooting styles ranging from 35mm film, digital and polaroid format. Unsure of where I wanted my work to end up I decided to just keep shooting until something sprung into my head… the great final idea… but it didn’t come.

After sitting and talking for a while with Sian Davey and discussing my lack of creativity towards the project she picked up on a few photos I had taken throughout the process that explored my daughters connections with direct family members. This was something that I had never thought of focussing on as a direct subject, but I feel that it was the breakthrough I needed in order to obtain that flow of consistency and meaning in my work.


Rebecca Newell, 2017. (Shot on 35mm Fuji Superia 200, using my Nikon F90x)

I got straight home and delved through my draws in my office trying to find a spare roll of film. I managed to find one roll of Fuji Superia 200 and I immediately loaded it into my camera, although I did not start shooting until the following day.

Thinking more and more about this subject made me realise and pick up on just how intimate this loving family moments were and it was really interesting to see who Holly had formed the tightest bonds with.


Rebecca Newell, 2017. (Shot on 35mm Fuji Superia 200, using my Nikon F90x)

I followed Holly around the house capturing these moments of affection, shooting 2 rolls in just 3 days. I have a long way to go with this project, I feel that I have not even touched the surface yet. I plan to shoot a lot more over the next few weeks and capture as many of these moments as I can.

Today’s lecture by Sian Davey and what’s next for me and my work…

Today I attended a really insightful and interesting lecture held by artist Sian Davey. An artist to whom I feel connected in terms of our work similarities (in terms of focus, of course I am nowhere near on her level).

Looking for Alice was one of the series discussed by Sian, the one which I am naturally most drawn to, well that was until I saw the others. Having a child with Downs Syndrome myself I feel that this series holds a special place in my heart and has really been at the forefront of my research for the past year and a half.

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Image from the series “Looking for Alice” by Sian Davey.

Light plays a very important part in Sian Davey’s images, really enhancing the colours and contrast in her images. Sian explained during this lecture that in the image above Alice had gone over to this bed and just lay in this straight position, without any direction from any other person around her. The bed resembled a hospital bed with its clinical green sheets and white walls, something which sprung a thought into her head with the links between how the bed physically looked, the way that Alice was lying, and the facts of the past based upon the types of places children with Downs Syndrome would have sadly ended up. Institutionalised.

Her series all hold meaning and really do draw you in with interest, something I need to work on a lot. My images are not holding the viewer in long enough to break the images down due to lack of subject interest, especially the ones where I have photographed Holly alone, and normally in the same setting every time.

I really appreciated Sian’s feedback on my work today, it was particularly comforting that she liked work that I had shot on 35mm film previous to be starting to use polaroid method. The images she much preferred were the ones that were unstaged, involving Holly with others, as opposed to alone.


Image shot by myself using my Nikon F90X 35mm film camera & Ilford XP2 monochrome film.

Images such as the one shown above hold much more interest and value that some of the other images I had previously shot. I now plan to go back to film, this time using colour 35mm Fuji Superia, in order to capture some more images of Holly, exploring her relationships with others in the household and in particular my father, Holly’s Grandad Stuart.


Old Wulfrunians Club, 2016. Rebecca Newell.


Catching up with this blog thingy… So what have I been up to since October?!

So, what a world wind the past 5 months has been, what with Dissertation and experimenting with different shooting practice… my work really have evolved in the past 5 months in terms of both volume and methods, in the meantime my blog took a back seat resulting in a quiet spell.

Since October I have been trying out different ways of shooting, as well as the methods and materials used to do so. Ive experimented with 35mm colour and monochrome film, mainly using Fuji Superia and the odd roll of Ilford XP2 monochrome. Ive dabbed in between with digital again taking to my trusty D810 when funds were low for film, which gained some great results, but I still feel they don’t give the same documentary feel and emotion as film does.


This is one image I shot using my D810 on a frosty Sunday walk. I really feel like this image screams isolation to me, it was a day when we were all going on a charity walk to raise some funds for the neonatal ward at the hospital my friends baby was born in. I took my camera along not expecting to shoot anything project related, just a few images of the days event. It was whilst on this walk that I noticed the other children not really involving Holly over in their games. Was it just me? Was I being conscious of something that my daughter hadn’t even picked up on? It sparked me to shoot this image after the other families had left. We stayed behind at the park and I snapped some images of Holly alone in large or isolated spaces. Was it helping me process my pain??? Maybe, maybe not, only time would tell.

Much of my other work has been photographing Holly in our home, the place where she is most comfortable. I constantly feel that when I am shooting I am picking up on the things that are affected by her Downs Syndrome… things like the sandal gap in-between her first two toes, her tongue hanging out of her mouth, the simple things that she has slowly learnt to do over time, such as brushing her own teeth. Although I know I am not deliberately doing it, I just get a feeling that others may think this. It my self consciousness winning over.


For my next step I decided to experiment with my Mini Instax camera, creating instant little polaroid images, which really hold that documentary, in-the-moment feel.

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I was really, really please with the outcome of my polaroid shots and I will continue to capture more. I have currently shot approximately 80 polaroid images, with the intent to continue doing so throughout the rest of the semester.

Final Major Project – A Week in the Eye

I have recently began my Final Major Project which forms a large part of my final years submission.

I have decided to base this project upon Downs Syndrome, as I did in a project last semester.

Here is some work I created throughout Summer break, shot on film…


‘Keyboard’ Rebecca Pearce, July 2016.


‘Sunlight’ Rebecca Pearce, July 2016.

I decided that film was working out too costly even though I love the effect it gives. I gave it one last go and decided to shoot on black and white film (Ilford XP2) which gave a really nice grainy result to the images as shown below.


‘TV’ Rebecca Pearce. August 2016.

After spending approximately £80-£100 on film plus processing I decided it was time for me to move over to film, and to be more precise focus directly on my subject, instead of documenting all parts of my family home.

Here is an image shot on my Nikon D810. I decided to focus on my subject only throughout this shoot, in a more direct way. I focussed on body parts that bring the idea of beauty to Down’s syndrome, but shot in a non-clinical surrounding. This gives the image a homely, warm feeling. It also shows the subject as a person and not as a clinical subject.


‘Tuesday’ Rebecca Pearce, October 2016.

I am still very undecided whether I think this image looks better in colour or black and white. I have still got time to build and expand this project so with time I am sure these decisions will become more apparent.


‘Tuesday’ Rebecca Pearce, October 2016. (Black & white).

Exhibition – Friday 15th July 2016

I will be exhibiting a newly refreshed project this Friday (15th July) at Newhampton Arts Centre in Wolverhampton, a 2-3 minute walk from the Molineux.

It showcases a series of images based on bringing up a child with Downs Syndrome.

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“Holly” – Rebecca Pearce – 2016

 I will be exhibiting three black and white images shot on Ilford XP2 black and white 35mm film. I decided to show these images as they were from the first roll I shot for this series of work and I feel that the film created a gorgeous grain on the images, forming even more texture.

 I also shot some colour images recently, also on 35mm film which will not be shown at the exhibition, due to myself wanting more time to develop the collection on a larger scale.

Here is a sneak peek of one of them…

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“Sunlight” – Rebecca Pearce – 2016

Final self-identity images…

I had a good think about hobbies of mine and things that play a big part in my spare time outside of photography, and it clicked! This could be what I choose to base my final project on.

Alongside my university degree I also study British Sign Language once a week at my old secondary school. I really enjoy it and feel that it has taken over a large chunk of my life alongside my passion for photography.

By combining both photography and Sign Language (BSL)  I can present a part of my identity based upon my passions, therefore presenting a piece of me within the work.

I chose to use sign language to spell out my name, using the letters of the alphabet (BSL). This work will showcase one of the first things I learnt when I started the course.















 It took a while for me to come up with the final plan for my self-identity images but it clicked in the end. Sometimes the most obvious of things go unnoticed , and in my case it was one of my hobbies.

 I am really happy with the outcome for these images and feel that they work really well as 10×8 colour, gloss prints.