Module Reflection

What I have enjoyed

  • During this Module I have enjoyed experimenting with different illustration techniques. This is not something I have done previously so I found it interesting to develop new skills other than photoshopping photographs.
  • I have also enjoyed researching the topic of data protection and cyber crime. The more I researched, the more I became interested in the subject. I had little knowledge of the subject before this module, apart from what I had heard and read on news websites previously, but these news stories offered little detail into internet groups and the deep web.

What I have found difficult

  • The most difficult part of this module was finding somebody to interview that had first hand experience of cyber crime and the deep web. The whole point of a hacker and internet groups is that they are anonymous, so it would be difficult to get to talk to somebody. This made me realise that I needed to talk to somebody who had knowledge of these topics and represented the legal side, the side protecting the public against cyber criminals. I had heard about Gary Hibberd from somebody who attended a talk he presented on data protection.

What I have gotten better at

  • Even though I have always enjoyed writing, I’ve been aware throughout university that my photography is stronger than my journalistic writing. However this module has given me the opportunity to improve my journalism skills, this is the first time that I have researched a topic in such depth and conducted professional interviews with somebody that I did not have prior knowledge of or already know.
  • As I said before, the use of illustration in my articles has enabled me to try new things creatively. I shall continue to experiment with digital illustration in the future.

If I were to do this module again

  • If I were to re sit this module I would spend more time on the planning stage of my artefact. I now realise that I was too confident at first about the my article, I had not given enough thought into how the two topics of my 5000 word article would combine to create something that flowed and didn’t seem too cut and stuck together. If I had spent more time researching before writing I think I would of been able to spot my mistakes early on.

Presentation Reflection

I had my final presentation today and I am happy with how it went. Although even though I went through the presentation countless times, in the moment I forgot what I had planned to say during some slides and was forced to come up with something on the spot. I think this may have effected the professionalism of my presentation slightly as it may of seemed as though I was unprepared for some aspects of my presentation where as I had in truth been over it many times and worked out what I wanted to say.

Overall though I think the presentation went well. I had answers for all the questions my tutors asked, and I think I answered in enough detail.

Chris asked me if I had any problems with creating a magazine suitable for iPad. I answered that I wanted to make something that looked like it belonged on a tablet screen but it would obviously have to be able to be printed at the same time for marking reasons. This meant that I could not make use of interactive elements such as galleries and animations that online magazines make use of. I had to create something that looked like it belonged both on paper and on screen.

If I were to do the presentation again, I would perhaps have a card with me at the front with reminders of what I had planned to say during each slide.

Final Presentation

Slide 1

Introducing my proposed online magazine, Online Matters.  Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 12.00.00

Slide 2

The closest existing publication to Online Matters is Vice Magazine. Largest amount of audience are between the ages of 26 and 30. This falls directly into the largest group of iPad owners in the UK, this is predicted to be the most common age of iPad owners up until 2017 according to eMarketer.Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 12.00.10

Slide 3

I have written 2 articles for the first issue of the magazine. Swimming In Dark Waters and Anonymous, A Force for Good Or Evil?

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 12.00.18Slide 4

My articles are suitable for publication as is evidenced in these articles that have been recently written for Vice Magazine. The subject of hacking and data protection is of huge interest right now as it is becoming more of a regular news item.Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 12.00.28

Slide 5

 I chose to combine traditional photographs with digital illustration. I did this to tackle the issue of photographing a digital subject, I did not want to have lots of images of somebody using a computer, or the typical padlock on the keyboard representing security. So I decided to experiment with digital illustration to try and create some images that represent what I was writing about but also were more interesting.

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Slide 6

 As evidence of illustration being used in similar publications, here are some used in recent articles by Vice

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Slide 7

I wanted to speak to somebody who had an expert opinion on hacking and data protection, and somebody who could give me and insight into the word of the deep web. I emailed Gary Hibberd, managing director of Agenci Information Security and spoke to him regarding my topics. We exchanged a number of emails and he gave me the perfect insider perspective that I was looking for.

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Slide 8

 Here is the statistics from my project gantt chart.

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Slide 9

 The main problem I encountered during the module was the original plan I had for my article. I originally was planning on writing a 5000 word article on data protection, and also talking about internet groups such as Anonymous. However I realised I had some very strong ideas in terms of photography and it would be a mistake to limit these to just 5 images. So I reduced the word count from 5000 to 3500 and upped the amount of photographs from 5 to 15. I also split the article into two separate pieces, meaning I could get more into detail about each subject without having to make them fit into the same article.

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Slide 10

 The other problem I had this semester was the purchasing of the Anonymous mask. I bought one on the 2nd of February but it did not arrive until late March, meaning I had to reschedule my studio photo shoot from mid March to the 1st of April. I made accounts for this in my project plan and worked around it to make sure it did not affect my deadline.

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Slide 11

It was through documenting my progress through this module that I realised where I was going wrong. This enabled me to change and adapt my plan without making life too difficult in terms of rushing at the end. Reflecting on each choice I made this semester made me see the problems before they became too much of a hindrance to my articles.

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Slide 12

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Model Release Forms

Every person that has featured in my photo shoots have signed the following model release form. In a ‘real world’ situation this would ensure that I am legally obligated to edit and sell my images for commercial gain.


List of models:

  • Jonathan Dickin
  • Christopher Wright
  • Julie Corker
  • Jordan Smith (myself)

Magazine Layout Design

As I have said before I wanted to stick to the following guidelines when creating my layout.

  • ‘How to’ navigation page to show audience how to interact with the articles.
  • Images that take up large sections of the screen and are a focus of the page.
  • Two columns of text on each page to show uniformity and seriousness and formality of subject matter.
  • Drop caps and pull quotes that match the colours of the photographs and illustrations on the article.

I have created my layout in Adobe InDesign to these specifications and I am very happy with the results.

As you can see I have stuck to my specifications throughout the magazine, two columns of text, full page images, pull quotes that match the colour of the images or illustrations in the article. Here is the full layout including front cover.

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.32.12 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.33.15 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.33.22 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.33.32 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.33.39 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.33.48 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.33.55 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.34.03 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.34.09 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.34.15 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.34.20 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.34.26 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.34.33 Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 23.34.39

Mask On Black Background, Shoot & Editing Process

For the main image for the Anonymous article I wanted to have a full page shot of the mask against a pitch black background. I had been looking at Anonymous images on the internet and wanted to create something a little like this:



I could of taken one of the images from a model wearing the mask and masked out the surrounding background and the eyes but I wanted something I could scale large enough on the page without seeing any imperfections that might come from masking.

So I used a portable photography backdrop, these are most commonly used in product photography as they allow you to create images like the iPhone below.


The Equipment

This is the backdrop I used. Very easy to set up and the sides diffuse the light coming through so you don’t have any harsh lighting on the subject.

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The shots

After taking a number of images of the mask this is what I got


I can now edit this in photoshop to remove the background. The backdrop makes this a lot easier than if I had used an image of somebody wearing the mask or if I had tried to prop the mask up against something.


The editing process for this image is fairly simple. First I loaded the image into Adobe Photoshop.

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I then created a duplicate layer and dropped the exposure down so the base of the backdrop and the back wall were the same shade of black.

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I then created a mask layer and used the paintbrush tool to paint the mask back into the image so it is not too dark. This means that the mask remains lit as I wanted, but the background is all one shade of black.

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I then merged the layers and used the eye dropper tool to select the black background and enabled that colour as my paintbrush colour. I then painted the white walls with the same shade of black as the background. This is the final image, the mask on a black background without the hassle of deleting complicated backgrounds.

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 22.56.33


Credit Card Theft Image

I wanted a photograph that could represent the theft of personal and finical information. A quick look on google showed me that most images showing this are not that imaginative or creative. Here are some examples:

Steps-You-Should-Take-After-Credit-Card-Theft credit-card-identity-theft credit-card-theft

I feel that my strengths are in my photography and image editing, so I decided to use these strengths to create something a little more interesting than these images above.

The Shots

I wanted to create the illusion that an arm was reaching out of the computer screen to steal a credit card that had been left unprotected. To do this I took two images.

The first of the laptop with the wallet open and cards spilled out. (for the purpose of this tutorial I have blacked out the card details, in the final image I photoshopped the numbers out, ironic if I was writing an article on data protection and got my card details stolen in the process)

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The second with the laptop lid lowered down and an arm stretching out through the area that the screen had been.

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Editing Process

I loaded both images into Adobe Photoshop and layered one image over the top of the other.

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I then created a mask over the top image and painted the arm front the second photo into the image, making sure to stop at the lid of the open laptop.

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Final Image

I neatened up the line between the arm and the laptop lid and removed the numbers and personal information from the bank cards… just to be safe.