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Read, Watch and Listen

Cleaning Troop

7.00am. Municipal market cleaners arrive for work. In Corporation saris, Mapusa’s cleaners present a more positive picture of ‘sweepers’ than in much of India. Traditionally regarded as low-esteem employment, refuse collection remains a largely un-automated industry that struggles to deal with the volume of refuse produced. The job is hindered further by the numerous cows roaming the market ‘processing’ waste. More positively, since the Goa-wide ban on plastic bags in 2013 the blight of discarded plastic is gradually improving.

Drum Seller

12. Drum Seller. During the Ganesh Chaturthi drum sellers appear in the market. The drums are beaten by children as plaster or plastic idols of the god Ganesha are taken to a water body and immersed. A practice that is increasingly causing alarm as the paints used to colour the idols are often toxic and are polluting the waterways.

Fish Market

Fish is a traditional staple of Goan cuisine and the basic ingredient for the classic Goan dish, fish curry and rice. Fishermen work at night in small trawlers or – inshore - unpowered canoes. The catch is landed at Siolim, a few miles from Mapusa market. Traditionally, it is the fishermen’s wives who sell the catch. The old fish market, pictured here, had no electric light and at night was romantically lit up by thousands of candles, illuminating the fish in their bamboo baskets.

Friday Market Day Vendor

8.00am A day vendor arrives with her basket of snake gourds. Every Friday thousands of villagers bring their produce to market. Most are not farmers but bring small quantities of produce grown in their gardens. The research traced their routes into the market. Whilst many are local, others arrive from further afield in the state and even from neighbouring Karnataka or Maharashtra. Goa is a wealthy state with many families receiving money from relatives working in the Gulf and Mapusa Market is a prosperous one and prices are relatively high.

Ganesh Chaturthi

7pm. The Ganesh Chaturthi – the Chovorth is a hugely popular celebration of the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed god. In Maharashtra, Chaturthi was reinvigorated at the end of the 19th century by Tilak who recognised Ganesha’s appeal as the ‘God for Everybody’ and popularised the festival to galvanise nationalistic fervour against British colonial rule. In Catholic Goa where Hindus were persecuted under the Inquisition, Ganesh Chaturthi is as popular as elsewhere in South India and often coincides with Christian festivals.

Goan chouriço sellers

Noon. Goan chouriço. Goan culture remains strongly influenced by its heritage of nearly 450 years of Portuguese Catholic rule, Goa is unusual in India in that pork is still widely – and openly – consumed. Goan chouriço is distinctive for combining pork with vinegar, chilli and spices to produce a hot and spicy sausage. Goa is also noted for its bread rolls, pão, which are baked daily and delivered to a bakery section of the market close to the chouriço vendors.

Mapusa Market

This market plan, dating from the early 1960s hangs in Mapusa Municipal Corporation’s office building close to the market. It presents a schematised and highly organised impression of the market. Whilst many of the units shown in the plan have since been subdivided and new fish, meat and vegetable markets have come up recently, the market’s essential layout, shown here, remains unchanged. But the infrastructure has been neglected, and much of the market is frequently under several inches of water during the monsoon.

Midnight

15. MIDNIGHT: At night the market is deserted other than for cows and dogs. Tourists shift to the popular ‘night markets’ along the coastal strips. The main alley of Mapusa Market at midnight reveals that Goa’s ‘no plastic bag’ push still has a way to go. Work clearing the rubbish will begin again each day, 365 days a year as the cleaners and early traders arrive for a new day of trading.

Overview

8.30am Each morning regular stall holders buy their produce in the fruit and vegetable wholesale market adjacent to the main market. ‘Unorganised retailing’ still comprises the major part of India’s retail economy. Until 2010 supermarkets were absent from small towns and almost everything was sold through small shops or market stalls. But retail reforms introduced in 2011 which allowed ‘FDI’: Foreign Direct Investment, have opened the way for the arrival of international supermarkets, heralding fundamental changes to the retail environment.

Plastic Flowers

10 a.m. Plastic Flower sellers. Cheap plastic goods are often produced in India, usually in Mumbai but are also imported from China. Whilst there is still a good market for locally made goods - home made bamboo ‘kazoos’ , knives made from recycled hacksaw blades and recycled plastic water jugs and drinking vessels, increasingly many goods on sale could be found in any market in the world.

Sewing Machine Repairs

2pm. Sewing Machine Repairs. Stallholder Elmech, in common with a surprisingly large number of Mapusa stallholders continues to work in the same shop that he moved into with his father when the ‘new’ market opened in 1961. His business mending sewing is an example of one of the many repair businesses still operating though his skills in mechanical mending are now less in demand than those needed to mend mobile phones.

The Market at 9.00am

By 9am the market is bustling. Mapusa Market is particularly famous for its bananas, with four varieties available year–round. Many of the local restaurants, catering for Goa’s huge tourist industry source their vegetables, fish and meat in the market. Vegetables are essential commodities and prices fluctuate widely for a variety of reasons. The price of onions reached an unheard of 80 rupees per kilo in 2015 causing serious political alarm.

Polio

4pm. Arjun Pankar begs for a living. Of India’s estimated 4 million beggars, those who are incapacitated through polio are not generally stigmatised. Although others are not so fortunate, there is a generous culture of giving alms in India which is promoted in Hindu culture. Arjun Pankar, who has lived in Mapusa all his life suffered from polio in his childhood when it was endemic across India. More recently, an aggressive eradication campaign resulted in the last reported case being in 2011.

'Still' by Denise Riley

Riley wrote the poem in the wake of her son’s death but never published it. It plays on the many meanings of the word ‘Still’: 'still' as ‘quiet’, as 'continually', as 'constant', as 'even though', etcetera. Even though the poem deals with death, Riley assured us that the shape of the funerary urn was created quite accidentally by centring the words on the page.

(c) Auriol Herford, no title, translation of Sam's image, 11-18 March 2015:

“Taking the lead from Sam and his interest in the connections between the natural and digital world, I reflected on the idea of my instinct and relation to technology. Last week I had a Caesarean birth followed by a week of rigorous monitoring. Every night over the last year I have also plugged a catheter bag onto my eldest son. I translated the medical objects and fragments from the experience into an image that used printmaking, drawing and collage.” http://kitestudios.org/ 

(c) Sam Treadaway, 'Techno-Techno-Techno-Techno', translation of 'Still', 4-11 March 2015:

"Still immediately reminded me of a book I’d recently read discussing connections (and tensions) between the natural and digital worlds. These ideas provided the basis of my understanding, deciphering and transformation of the poem. The ‘translation’ process was initiated by converting ‘Still’ into computer binary code. Adapting the outcome I endeavoured to capture the essence of ‘Still’ in a single image. I am neutral and non-attached as to the success of this process and wish my fellow artists an interesting and rewarding match." www.samtreadaway.com

(c) Bryan Eccleshall, 'Master Square', translation of Katarina's image, 25 March – 1st April 2015:

“Translators ordinarily shift things into their own language. Hence I have made a drawing of a photograph using a technique developed over the last couple of years, but with a slight difference. I took the photograph I was sent and edited it to make sixteen square images that, when assembled would resemble the image I was given, but this time as a drawing. The thing I made is a drawing, but for the purpose of this exercise, I assembled individual scans of the drawings into a jpeg in PhotoShop.” https://bryaneccleshall.wordpress.com/

(c) Sarah Sparkes, 'Gap between the nothing', translation of Bryan's image, 1-8 April 2015:

"Although I have stayed close, in compositional respects to Bryan's work, there is a gap through which something other has slipped in. I looked intensely at Bryan’s image, wanting mine to enable me to conjure the ghost of his. I assembled my visual signs – techniques, symbols and material processes that are my own native creative language - and started making actual objects and photographing them, then created a digital collage from these. On my computer, Bryan’s image had a blue cast, which is reflected in my translation.” www.sarahsparkes.com

(c) Sharon Kivland, no title, translation of Sarah's image, 8-15 April 2015:

Sharon's full translation of Sarah's work is a short animation, which traces the journey into the mirror and back. “I live in two languages, haunted by a third. There is constant movement as a word thought in one language passes into a spoken word in another. This happens in the life between one image (another’s) and another (mine).  An  image, precisely thought,  is – and passes through – a mirror. This is quite a literal translation of the image that preceded it (the gap or void, the blue cast that is taken from the image before, the decorative detail that might be supposed to be feminine). It is impossible to keep completely still, even when caught or fixed.” www.sharonkivland.com

(c) Juneau Projects, no title, translation of Sharon's image, 15-22 April 2015:

"We took an element from Sharon's image (the black rectangle) and made this into a physical object. We then photographed the object in a location echoing/paralleling Sharon's image (a canal as moving mirror in reference to Sharon's video), contemporary artists' studios (the warehouse). Finally we took inspiration from the quality of Sharon's image itself (a printed reproduction) and digitally printed an object onto the photographed object to produce a crude figure (artist or model).” www.juneauprojects.co.uk

(c) Heather Connelly, no title, translation of Juneau Projects' image, 22-29 April 2015

“I responded instinctively to the image, being particularly drawn to its formal composition and context – where the sculpture had been photographed and the objects that surrounded it. I sought out similar locations, photographing various elements, using a mirror to interrupt, reflect and deflect what I saw. I then manipulated and collaged some of the images together – layering and modifying them in ​

(c) Briony Campbell, no title, translation of Heather's image, 29 April – 6 May 2015:

"I wanted to represent Heather's vision of water, sky and leaves. Taking the clouds directly I fused them with a tree. I interpreted her plant pots as the domestic element; at once giving the plants the love they need to grow but also asserting ownership of natural things. So in my translation the pots became a human holding tight to the tree. Where Heather repeated the plant pot motif, I took the lights on the horizon of my original seascape and floated them into the sky as stars. The image is a collage of three of my own photos (involving long exposures) and one element of Heather's image.” www.brionycampbell.com

(c) Anna Cady, no title, translation of Matt's image, 13-20 May 2015:

“A funeral urn? Cremating, containing or representing the body? Black. Luminous. A sinister fairy tale. Hand made and performative. Air and fire inside the body as vessel. Air as breath. Internal and external. Containing and representing air simultaneously? Transforming ‘air’ into a solid ‘thing’. I perceive the central part of the vessel in Matt’s photograph as being made of glass. The colour, beauty and fragility of the projected, reflected colours in my film-still is as if it is to be seen as, or made of, glass. Just before it melts.” www.annacady.com

(c) Domingo Martínez, no title, translation of Anna's image, 20-27 May 2015:

“I perceive Anna’s image as a metaphor of wish and desire, but also of nostalgia and melancholy. The hand waiting for someone or for something to hold, or maybe just to be held. It reminded me of a photograph I bought in a flea market, which showed an arm from the same angle and a hand holding a child’s hand. I took that piece of the picture and drew it separately to express my own feelings. Then I reproduced the atmosphere in Anna’s picture, which I found very close to the nostalgic feeling I wanted to show, a feeling linked to a memory.” www.domingomartinez.es 

Family Group, Tintype, circa 1880

This is a typical 2¾x3½” framed tintype where the specificity of the seaside is hardly signified. The sea wall is used as backdrop, which was a common device in early seaside photography. The wall provided a natural light diffuser, thus preventing over exposure in harsh sunlight. The intergenerational group of sitters are dressed formally and relationships signified by the subtle touch of the central man’s hand on the shoulder of the seated female.

Two Boys in a Goatcart, Tintype, circa 1880

Goatcarts were popular Victorian entertainment rides for children at the seaside and these two boys typify similar images circa 1880. They do not smile, the cart is still and the sea wall offers a stark and static backdrop for the camera’s slow shutter speed. Images such as this, whilst commonly referred to as tintypes are actually ferrotypes – a direct positive image on enamelled iron.

Family Group, Ambrotype

This is a seaside ambrotype – a glass plate positive image. Ambrotypes were from the 1880s largely superseded by the American imported tintype. It was obvious to see why, the tintype whilst in many ways inferior, was cheaper, lighter and obviously far more durable than glass. Clearly pragmatics such as cost, speed and material resilience took precedence. But both ambrotype and tintype offered instant gratification – photographs taken and finished while the Victorian client waited.​

Unframed Family Group, Tintype

This unframed tintype is taken at the coast, with the beach and sea wall present. To further indicate place, seaside paraphernalia of buckets, spades and bonnets are either held or laid out. Indicative of somewhat slapdash photographic practice, the fishing net pokes out absurdly from the father’s head. The image is at once formal, but made informal by the (mis)placed net and further ‘softened’ by the boy in the back row beginning to move into a half-smile.​

Family Group with Photographer's Darkcart, Tintype

This typical family grouping interestingly includes the photographer’s own darkcart / darkbox in the upper portion of the image. This handcart held not only all the paraphernalia required to produce the photograph, but also acted vitally as a darkroom. On the side of the cart, as we see here, would be displays of previous portraits and thus such simple wooden handcarts functioned as hybridised studios, dark-boxes and galleries on wheels.

Family Group with Photographer's Diffuser, Tintype

This unsmiling family group show yet another of the photographer’s tools - the diffuser. This would be used to soften fierce sunlight and eradicate harsh shadows. Whilst the mother and father collectively hold the child steady, the photographer’s assistant can be seen at the edge of frame holding the improvised diffuser. Usefully for us, the photographer has unintentionally captured not only the equipment, but also the assistant’s legs and the diffuser’s clear cast.

Mother and Child on a Bathing Machine, Ambrotype

While the smile might be absent or restrained in early commercial seaside photography; tenderness is not. Surviving modest ambrotypes such as this of a mother and child on the steps of a bathing machine, counter connotations of the ambro’ and tintype as disposable shoreline amusement. Rather than cheap seaside ephemera, a revised consideration might be offered, whereby these modest portraits became important affordable keepsakes.

Three Women by a Bathing Machine, Ambrotype circa 1870

If seaside photography was taken for amusement, then somewhat paradoxically the three women seen in this ambrotype (sitting directly on the sand and in front of large bathing machine cartwheels) look far from amused. This is typical. These early beach portraits show the clients repeatedly dressed in their best clothes and despite the location of production, the Victorian sitter sought a dignified representation that echoed studio portraiture.

Couple on the Sands, Ambrotype

This ambrotype shows how norms are plastic and how these 19th century itinerant seaside images are an important material demonstration of representational shifts in portraiture. The couple, sitting closely together suggest a more relaxed presentation and in the woman we see a hint of a smile.​

Father with Sons, Ambrotype

This ambrotype provides a good example of how the itinerant beach photographer would frame and complete the image. Often these 19th century seaside images were presented neatly through the use of thin flexible brass matte (often elaborately stamped) and then encased in simple, yet attractive painted wooden or papier mache frames. At the cheapest end of the market, tintypes (not ambrotypes) would be slipped or glued into light card sleeves.

Large Family Group on the Sands, Tintype​

This large family grouping provides an example of a key characteristic of the tintype image – that of lateral reversal. The image that we see is reversed in a similar way to a mirror image. This of course becomes most evident when text, as seen here in the nearby stall’s signage, is included in the final image.

Couple on the Sands, Ambrotype​

The itinerant beach photographer was the first mass-producer of plein-air portraits and very quickly introduced seaside paraphernalia as ‘props’, seen here in the clinker-built boats signifying a coastal location. The two sitters we also see typify a fashionably confident pose of the day. They verge on the defiant in their informality and intimacy, indicated by lounging together on the pebbles and the male placing his arm fully around the shoulder of the female.

Family in Bathers/Studio, Unframed Tintype

19th century examples of sitters wearing bathing costumes paradoxically have not been taken at the seaside, but rather at nearby portrait studios frequently situated close to the beach. This modest unframed tintype is perhaps an example of the studio bathing costume portrait at its most stark.

Couple in Bathers/Studio

This studio portrait of a couple in bathing costumes whilst modest nevertheless seeks a more naturalistic mise-en-scene of faux beach, rock and driftwood and is then given further depth through the tromp l’oeil seascape backdrop. The rented bathing costumes bear the name of the photographer’s studio ‘H.J.Larkins’, but as a tintype seen here in lateral reverse.

Read, Watch and Listen

Films, feature articles, podcasts and image galleries that showcase research from across our funded themes and programmes.

Features

A selection of feature-length articles about different aspects of AHRC-funded research.

Exeter Cathedral

Digital Photograph 2015

©Rose Ferraby

Huge clustered pillars of Blue Purbeck Marble support the famous Gothic vaulting of Exeter Cathedral. A stratigraphy of other Purbeck stones can be found reconstructed throughout the floor: Grub, Blue Bit, New Vein, Leining Vein. Names echo a quarrying history, and a unique knowledge of stone.

 

Nigeria - Ogaba region

Biafra conflict. Ogaba region. Fleeing fights, refugees flood the road from Aba to Umahia.

© ICRC / VATERLAUS, Max