Helsinki Photomedia 2016

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This was already the 3rd edition of Helsinki Photomedia Conference, 30th March – 1st April 2016. I was those lucky to present my research at all three editions. This year, however, organizers introduced a new panel – Photography Education that was chaired by Professor Liz Wells. This was my first experience of having such a good chair that made the whole panel (split into two sessions, four papers each) very cohesive. After my presentation, we had very interesting discussion on the current condition of photography education and new approaches that it requires. Looking forward to similar panel in the next edition of Photomedia Conference in 2018.

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4th International Visual Methods Conference

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This is rather a kind of retrospective view on the 4th International Visual Methods Conference in Brighton, UK that took place 16-18th of September 2015. I have my paper presented there, titled Interpretation of journalistic photographs as a tool for visual literacy education.

The Conference was itself very exiting and I think that it was the very first time for me when I met so many friends and colleagues on the spot that I did not even have time to get to know new people. However, this was something that I appreciate very much – getting to know who is doing what at the moment and imaging some new ideas for possible collaborations.

I must also admit that visual methods or visual methodologies, or visual research methods still surprise me. There is so many different approaches within visual studies! At the conference I had the first time encounter with digital story-telling (even though I am quite confused by this kind of “study/research”). And my other new fascination is multimodality (although not encountered at the conference, but at some other occasion, that is, at the workshop on multimodality with John A. Bateman). Hence, my excitement in visual studies is constantly growing.

Methods Festival 2015, Tampere

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Finally, after a few editions of the Methods Festival (Metodifestivaali), organized interchangeably in Jyväskylä and Tampere (Finland), there was a slot about visual methods this time (Tampere, 19-20.08.2015). What is more, among keynote speakers was Professor Gillian Rose! This all may sound as nothing in particular, but I feel that for the Finnish academia it’s already a lot, or at least a step forward.

The keynote speech organized the main issues about visual methodologies. For me, this was especially important as after reviewing couple of visual methods and their application to journalistic photographs (for the article, on which I’m currently working), I was totally lost.

Professor Gillian raised the question why should we work with visual methods/images? One, quite obvious, answer is that there is more and more visuals. But the other is that photographs reveal what is hidden in the everyday life (for instance, photo-elicitation). What is more, visuals can convey different information than text. And conducting studies with images can help to approach non-academic audiences.

I’m personally wondering towards which direction visual methodologies lead. Is it possible to still invent/describe new methods? Or should we systematize and conform existing approaches?

Mobility Grant to Warsaw University

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The Vice-rector of the University of Jyväskylä has decided to allocate me a mobility grant for 7 weeks research visit to the University of Warsaw, Poland. The purpose of the grant is to strengthen strategic partnership and career development among researchers and PhD students.

I’m going to start my research in The Institute of Journalism, Warsaw University, already next week. The main objective of the visit is to write a joint international publication with Joanna Szylko-Kwas, PhD, from the Institute of Journalism, who has similar research interest. In the article we will create and evaluate the typology of press photography genre. Poland has long tradition in studies on genre in journalism. However, just a few scholars have currently investigated the concept of photo genre, both in Poland and worldwide. Among these scholars is doctor Szylko-Kwas with whom I will be working on the joint publication. Most probably, I will also have opportunity to receive scientific feedback to my ongoing postgraduate research from professor Kazimierz Wolny-Zmorzyński, who is another scholar working in the field of photography, especially press photography genre, and who was a supervisor of my Master thesis (back in 2009).

During the visit, I have been asked to teach a short, two hours, lecture about press photography from the perspective of my dissertation work. This opportunity may give me a new insight to my own research. Part of the visit will be also dedicated to compile ideas for the joint project application, which investigates press photography, its definition, genre and the reception process.

Helsinki Photomedia 2014

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On Thursday, 27th of March 2014 I had a presentation entitled “Visually Powerful: Content Instead of Context in the Press Photography Reception Process” at the Second International Helsinki Photography Research Conference. The conference took place at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki, Finland.

It was wonderful to see all familiar faces and get to know new people. Great three days of inspiring presentations and discussions, as well as the fruitful pre-conference course with Paul Frosh “Photographic Powers:What is the Role of Images?

Abstract of my conference presentations could be read HERE

Research Grant

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On 3rd of December 2013 the Kone Foundation (Koneen Säätiö) has announced the grant decision for the Researcher Grants in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Environmental Research, and Artistic Research.

I have received a one-year personal grant for my dissertation work: “Modelling press photography analysis: Learning through pictures”. This means that one more year I could fully dedicate to the research work, thanks to the Kone Foundation.

Updated abstract of my dissertation could be found on the Foundation website HERE

New Article

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The new dissertation article has been just accepted for publication in the “Journal of Visual Literacy” for the next, Spring issue 2013. The title of the article is: “To See More: A Model for Press Photograph Story Analysis”.

Journal of Visual LiteracyThe article presents and evaluates an interdisciplinary model for press photograph story analysis. The research comprised two stages: familiarizing study participants with the interpretation model and qualitative content analysis of the participants’ interpretations of samples of press photograph stories. The study was undertaken in 2011 at the University of Jyväskylä, Department of Communication. The result of this study is that the model for press photograph story analysis could be used in the educational context to develop the skills of visual literacy among students.

The article also includes samples of the analysed press photograph stories, thanks to the following photographers: Francesco Zizola/NOOR, Lars Lindqvist and Meiko Herrmann.

Researcher Grant from the Kone Foundation!

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On 5th of December 2012 the Kone Foundation (Koneen Säätiö) has announced the grant decision for the Researcher Grants in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Environmental Research, and Artistic Research.

I have received a one-year personal grant for my dissertation work: “Modelling press photography analysis: Learning through pictures”. This means that the year 2013 I could fully dedicate to the research work, thanks to the Kone Foundation.

Abstract of my dissertation could be found on the Foundation website HERE

And some information about the Kone Foundation:
Kone Foundation is an independent and unaffiliated organization, the aim of which is to promote Finnish academic research, arts and culture. From a modest start in the early years, Kone Foundation began to award grants for academic research, with a specific focus on the humanities, the social sciences and environmental sciences.
(source: http://www.koneensaatio.fi/en/information)

New Project

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Together with three other researchers in visual studies:

Jenni Mäenpää, Researcher and PhD student, Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication – COMET, University of Tampere;
Mari Pienimäki, Licentiate, PhD student, Research Center for Contemporary Culture, University of Jyväskylä;
Nanna Särkkä, Project researcher and PhD student at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture;

I designed a project “Visuality in Journalism: Collaborative Perspective”. Project has a form of a network or a support group for PhD students in visual communication. It received a start-up grant from the Faculty of Humanities, University of Jyväskylä.

Here is a basic description of the main idea of the project:

Contemporary press is getting more and more visual; a large part of meanings is conveyed in other ways than with text. However, far too little attention has been paid to the visual. There is also far too little understanding of how the visuality works. Journalism research as well as a curriculum in journalism is still focusing mainly on text, marginalizing an understanding of images, photographs, graphics and layout. Therefore, there is a need for a cross-disciplinary approach to visuality in journalism.

The aim of this project is to stimulate discussion on different elements of visual communication in print media, i.e. layout, photojournalism, press photography, genre, context, and to confront divers research interests and approaches to visuality in journalism. As an outcome, project members plan to write one or two scientific articles for the peer-reviewed journals.