I have been encouraged by my supervisors to undertake a period of reflection after a hard-working and sometimes frantic level of academic writing, research, and photographic practice in the first eight months of my PhD.

It has been hard to take my foot off the gas and spend more time thinking than doing!  But, after a barren period of a couple of weeks, spent finishing an assignment and reading books less directly relevant to my research and reviewing my images, I have started to formulate some ideas that will help crystalise the methodology and research methods of my work.  I have also started to put together an approach that will help me articulate what Object-Oriented Photography means in practice, using a ten-construct model, based on Cognitive Field Theory.

In building this model, I aim to clarify my own practice, develop ways of being more successful through this approach, and provide a methodology through which others can understand and develop their own skills.  Furthermore, the model also has potential to provide me with the means to evaluate my own work, for others to evaluate my work and their own photographic practice.

Often my writing returns to the thinking of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and in this case his link between perception and categorisation, through schema, provide me with the basis for producing a ten-construct model for Object-Oriented Photography.  Ryan (2019) combines the use of schema with Cognitive Field Theory (Lewin 1939) to produce a hierarchy of photographic expertise and an IMP test that measures a photographers’ intuitive abilities through the use of a ten-construct model.  My intention is to use this basic model to develop my own photographic practice and the theoretical underpinning for my research.

My thinking is in its early stages and is the result of only a few days of reflection and brainstorming.  But I am excited that this model will provide me with the basic tools to provide a rigorous and robust methodology and method to support my photographic practice.

At this stage, I am playing with ideas, and have come up with a very provisional list of possible constructs for Object-Oriented Photography.  These will naturally develop over the next couple of years, and I anticipate they will change significantly as my thinking develops. Nonetheless, in coming up with this list, I have been forced to think carefully and deeply about my photographic practice and what is important:

Ten Constructs of Object-Oriented Photography

  1.  Essence – reality, being aware of being
  2. Temporality – hiddenness, ephemeral, study over time, seasonality
  3. Attentiveness – activation of all senses
  4. Interoception – awareness of self.
  5. Exteroception – awareness of other, interiority and interconnectedness, selfless identification 
  6. Core intuitive camera skills – framing, composition etc
  7. Spatial persistence – commitment to locations, deep knowledge and understanding
  8. Unconscious – flow induced through spending time in reflection
  9. Marginality – vulnerability, fragility, sustainability (metaphor)
  10. Analogous reasoning – awareness of metaphor, simile, tangency

These ideas, represent a long-standing commitment in my photographic practice to seeing beyond presence, the development of the term Object-Oriented Photography, first coined by Paul Caplan (2012) in the context of the photographic image and developed in Ryan and Price (2021), and the work of Ryan (2019) in relation to the assessment of intuition, expertise and judgement in the capture of photographic images.



Caplan, P. (2012). JPEG: The Quadruple Object. London, Birkbeck, University of London. PhD.

Lewin, K. (1939). “Field Theory and Experiment in Social Psychology.” American Journal of Sociology 47: 868-896.

Ryan, R., Price, A B J (2021). Object Oriented Photography – a Speculative Essay on the Photography of Essence.

Ryan, R. J. (2019). Intuition, Expertise and Judgement in the Assessment and Capture of Photographic Images. School of Business and the School of Art. Cheltenham, University of Gloucestershire. PhD.


Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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