Proposal – New


Craig Leaper


Hidden World / Hidden Portrait

Subject to be investigated

I am interested in getting up close to things, be it under microscopes or through macro lenses on the insect world. Also on a growing scale I am interested in portraits.  However everyone creates portraits that they can see with the naked eye and not what lies beneath the human skin or even in the skin. I aim to produce work of a personal nature on the basis of that the items are embedded deep within use, almost kept behind and running in the background without any real recognition. This project will reveal the inner most workings of the body.


For this project I will capture what we cannot normally see within the human body to create portraits of an intimate nature. However since it may be hard to get willing volunteers to supply the items required I am going to do the project on myself. In all it will almost become a Self Portrait focusing on the question of portraiture and what can be representational of a human being. To do this I will look at different cells within the body, cheek scrapings, blood, hair, skin and other areas and fluids of the human body to portray a unique and personal portrait of myself.

Within portraiture most people concentrate on the features, what they can see or the representation of the subject with the use of objects or narratives. For this project I will capture the intimate nature of the portrait by concentrating on what we cannot see with the human eye. This could mean looking under the skin, looking deep into the skin or through the x-ray form. 

For example the preexisting work of Gary Schneider, I will be looking at the personal nature of the human biology. His ‘genetic self-portrait’ series was an exploration of himself, to discover any predisposition to a serious health condition that would affect his health insurance. Also the project became about the process at which the images being produced move from being a piece of recorded information to the personal. Similarly Gilbert and George used body fluids to create their portraits to deal with the notions of anger, sex, violence and to make the piece a living work of art, they become the work of art. Also the work of Karl Blossfeldt is influential with the idea of presenting the shapes and forms created by the cells in the same way he photographed the botanical for science books so everyone could admire the form nature produced.

This work has progressed on from my normal Macro work by combining it with my interest in portraiture and the macro world in general.

Furthermore on a wider plain this project will border on the intimate portrait by digging down and presenting the most private and usually off limits areas of their personal body. As well as about how much they are willing to let people see of themselves.

My approach to this will be to contact various universities and medical institutes to aid in finding out what can go under the certain machines and what type of images they will produce.  



In February I have conducted some basic tests and seen what instruments I may be able to acquire from the University Biology Department. The tests were conducted on basic microscopes to start with to see how far I could take the ‘close up’ stage of the process.

Throughout March and April I aim to capture certain elements that are required to fulfill this project. This will mean going to medical institutions and using their faculties and resources. Hopefully using friends to further add to the project dynamics and create more portraits. Along side this will be a blog to show the progress and results as the project goes on. Also throughout all months of the project I will be in constant contact with mentors and lecturers on the module itself. This way they can stay informed about the project, as well as guiding me or providing me with other artists related to me. Moreover research into the artists and further scientific advantages and process will be posted up on the blog.

By the begging of may or at least by the first week I aim to have collected my images and have sent them off to be printed leaving enough contingency time available if something were to go wrong or I find something else to capture that is to a greater value than the previous images.



In the build up to the exhibition and publication of the book I am hoping to gain attention of the science genre, as my images will be heavily influenced by science through the means of how they items are captured and the over all items within the frame. Furthermore if I am displaying work in a local area to an institute that is willing to help me then this will then attract that type of audience and may lead to more local collaborations to further develop the project and be able to photograph even deeper into the human anatomy, displaying more about ones self.

Furthermore my work could attract the general portrait photographers. Those that are interested in new ways on creating portraits and showing the true intimate side to ones self, creating a whole new level to a personal portrait. As well as creating portraits that are representational to the sitter rather than the sitter physically being in the frame (head and shoulders wise).

Hopefully we will also gain an audience with the copies taken to the degree show in London or Birmingham. This has been agreed with the participants of the London exhibition group. 


To engage with the maximum amount of people for my project, I will utilise the free world of social networking with such sites as Twitter and Facebook to increase the potential audience range and figures. This can be done through people ‘Retweeting’ my posts, posting to the group hastag of ‘#exposure24’ so anyone following the enquiry may see updates as I go along. Also this can build up a following of people that would like to see the images up close for themselves and increase the amount of people at the show.

Furthermore by creating a blog to run along side the project show cases tests and images, potential scientists within the field could interact with the project by applying their experiences and knowledge into the subject giving me more information and possible more ideas to capture.

Method of Presentation


My method of presentation will consist of prints being attached to the wall as though they are floating away. The prints may consist of being printed on Metallic or aluminium style paper as well as being attached to a sturdy backing. To me this will enhance the image by giving it an almost 3D dimension, emphasising the shapes and colours embedded in the image and will also go along with the theme of a slight scientific nature to the project. The images will not contain borders as I feel the subjects being captured have no limits or borders; they are everywhere and never ending. The images will be laid out in a vertical order to represent the position of the body in which they were taken. For example samples taken form the top half of the body will be placed at the top and those taken from the bottom half will be placed at the bottom. However in some images I could display the portraits horizontally in order but with other people in the same room, this may not work out with the limited amount of space available.


To present online I will use various free sites such as flickr, my own website and a blog space which will be updated as the project continues. The idea behind this is so that anyone unavailable to see the exhibition will still be able to see the work as well as creating a following of interest in my project and any other work I am producing. If the right person follows or sees my work through someone else then this could lead to further exhibitions or features.

Budget and Resources



The Print Space – Aluminium, with baton mounts.

Loxley colour – Alumini print, mounting included.

One Vision – Quartz Acrylic, metallic.

The Print Space















Loxley Colour

Print and wall display are all in one







One Vision













Gallery Space:


Space – Previously arranged and out of my control, provided.

Electrics/Lighting – Previously arranged and out of my control, provided.

Refreshments/opening night – £2-5 each.




Twitter – Free.

Facebook – Free.

Word of mouth – Free.

Personal Website hosting – Previously brought for other modules.

Group Website hosting – £2



Microscopes and other similar equipment – Unknown at this time.

Software – Previously brought or supplied already.

Computers – Provided



To Warwick science park – Bus pass, previously held. £1.70 each way if pass is forgotten.

To University of Birmingham – £5 open return to Birmingham New Street, 39minute walk to Edgbaston campus  (free)


The two preferred methods:


Loxley Colour Total

Prints and mounting – £720

Travel – £5 x 15 (estimated 15 trips) – £75

Refreshments – £5 (maximum)

Promotion -£2

Total so far: £802

The Print Space Total

Prints and mounting – £770.60

Travel – £5 x 15 (estimated 15 trips) – £75

Refreshments – £5 (maximum)

Promotion – £2

Total so far: £852.60




theartofphotography. (2011). Episode 57 :: Karl Blossfeldt. [Online Video]. 25th January 2011. Available from: [Accessed: 15th February 2012]

Unknown. (1985) Karl Blossfeldt Art Forms in the Plant World. New York: Dover Publications.

Wilde, A. and Wilde, J. (1998) Karl Blossfeldt: Photography. Hatje Cantz Publishers.

Gary Schneider – Genetic Self Portrait

Gary Schneider (2012) Gary Schneider – Genetic Self Portrait. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 6th March 2012]

Gary Schneider tin conversation part 2, Worth, J. (2012) Gary Schneider in conversation part 2. Available at: [Accessed: 6th March 2012].

Bright, S. (2006) Art Photography Now. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.

Sample Images


This image is representation of part of a worm. This is similar to the work I want to produce with humans using their cells or tissues.

Like wise the image below, the Turtox B2, 321 Rhizapus Sporangia, is also similar to the desired effect but not quite close enough.

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