In June 2019 I started my MA with Falmouth university as part of an accredited education programme.

16th October 2019


What a intense week. It started with our meeting with Jesse and Anna, which definitely didn’t go well. First of all I was late attending for personal reasons , and it obviously wasn’t going well when I came into the webinar. I think the general feel was that we had not only not quite got the feel for the brief yet, but that also we were all a bit disjointed and not cohesive as a group. I was really frustrated at myself for being late as there were things I would of liked to of added , that we had discussed, and done, but felt at that time I wasn’t in a position, having come in late, to interrupt , and not only that but mostly, it was personally I just wasn’t in the right place to be able to discuss it at that time. After the webinar as a group we decided to meet later that day to discuss how we could move forward and how the webinar had gone. In-between the two webinars I took the opportunity to go back to the original brief and start at the beginning. I went back to look at the American dream, definitions of it, and how it is portrayed in art, literature and psychology. My idea at the time was to try and get us as a unit to come up with a shared vision of what the American dream portrayed and could look like to different people.

This was my initial research on this …

I have found the following articles, quotes and extracts online in relation to the good life, to try and further clarify this “ideal” or “notion” in my own head, I look forward to hearing back from the other group members about their interpretation of the American dream, and seeing how our geographical locations impact our understanding of the American dream.

The first is taken from Psychology today,

“But we have to be realistic about the good life.  In this regard I find the ideas of the psychologist Carl Rogers helpful. Rogers (1961) in discussing the good life wrote: “It seems to me that the good life is not any fixed state.  It is not, in my estimation, a state of virtue, or contentment, or nirvana, or happiness.  It is not a condition in which the individual is adjusted, fulfilled, or actualised….The good life is a process, not a state of being…It is a direction, not a destination.  The direction…is that which is selected by the total organism, when there is psychological freedom to move in any direction”

(Rogers, 1961, pp 186-187).” ( Joseph,Stephen. 2014. Psychology today)

( first accessed 11.10.09)


After researching the idea or perception of of the good life or the American dream I decided to look at the portrayal of the America ideal in literature and arts. I was instantly bought back to the Great Gatsby, as there is probably no better book for looking back at what that good life, and abundance, and excess was measured by and looked like. This second section is what I found on that.

The good life, or the “American dream” is also much symbolised in literature, perhaps most notably in the great Gatsby, by the iconic moment Nick sees Gatsby for the first time standing outside his house by the water …. “ He stretched out his arms toward the dark water, I , distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far way. . . . “ “… in the wider context of the book and its arguments about the American Dream, the green light can also be seen as symbolising money, success, and the past. The inaccessibility of the green light is an important element of its symbolism.”

(Spark notes First accessed 11.10.19 )

Another thing to note about the Great Gatsby, is the way Fitzgerald used cars as a symbol for mass consumption, indulgence and excess throughout the story. Interestingly as well are the metaphors of the car crashes throughout the novel, being seen as a narrative on economic collapse .


After the literature I went on to looking at the portrayal of the American dream in Art…

With regards to understanding the American dream in art , and how it impacted art, I am automatically reminded, for obvious reasons of an exhibition that I saw in London in 2017 “The American dream ; pop to present” that was staged at the British museum.


The press release for the exhibition is found here

This exhibition had a lot of strong visuals and representations of the American dream and what it represents, both in the past and today that we could draw on as inspiration for the way forward. Notably, for us, the use of print making of all kinds, but especially emulsion screen printing using photography as its source would be particularly useful to look into further. The exhibition chronicled American artists’ interpretation of the “American dream” and all that went with it, in it’s good and bad days, and it’s evolution over time. It is worth noting here that the exhibition was sponsored by Morgan Stanley, I’m not quite sure whether that is genius, or irony.


After us having discussed the American dream, I had wanted us to discuss what our individual backgrounds were so that we could find where our strengths lay , so that going forward we could delegate areas of the brief more easily and effectively, as I think the main issue we were facing was that we were more like 5 people trying to do a project each, the same project, but all individually, whereas what we needed to be doing was splitting tasks and coming together as a unit.


I then went on to look again at the client brief, to revisit what we had been asked for. these were my starting notes, taking the literature we were given and breaking it down to the very basics.


City ID are a company that help produce literature and solutions for todays mobility needs, primarily within cities.

They are currently producing a book that they need visual representation for.

The first section of the book chronicles the evolution of the motor car, the second proposes a plan of action for how our motor needs can adapt to the future. Although it does not state this directly means environmental factors and issues, I am assuming this is what this second part is referring too at least in part.

They go on to explain about how the structure within our towns and cities has been based around the car. They raise the question, how will this change if we move away from the car in the future.


What does the changing psychology, geometry, and geography, of the good life/American dream in the context of the car look like.


* The complexity of todays mobility landscape in the context of the individual, communal and societal psyche
This to me would encompass things like we NEED to drive to get to work, but we KNOW it is bad for the environment. As well as varying ways to get around in cities.

* The multitude of expressions of physical, social, economic barriers experienced by individuals in changing mobility behaviour, as well as creative subversions
This to me would be things like, we know it is bad for the environment so we car share, get the bus, or choose to work from home. This ‘COULD’ encompass van life and nomadic working if we want to go this route as both myself and one other group member had expressed an interest in going this route.

*The geographic range and expression of mobility trends





And, this is where this project ends as on Thursday I had a family bereavement, and on Sunday I was rushed into hospital in a medical emergency. After that I let the group and Module leader know that I would be unable to continue with the brief. I did this for a number of reasons, most importantly we needed to start moving quickly and cohesively , and I wasn’t going to be able to do that from a hospital bed, or whilst recovering from being ill. however, there is also an element here of I think knowing when you are out of your depth is a good thing to know in business, to know when to ask for help, to know when to say you don’t understand or even when to say, like I had too , that you need to take a step back from something. It was incredibly hard for me, even being in hospital, to let the group and tutor know I wouldn’t be continuing, but in business, we need to have our balance right, and the balance wasn’t right here, and many other things could of suffered if I had continued to try to do this project as well, and that wouldn’t of been fair on anyone, myself, my fellow students, the tutors, or the clients. S as hard as it was, taking a step back from this was definitely the correct decision. I wish the team the best of luck going forward with this, and I will be really interested to see what all the students come up with moving forward through the module, as I still believe the opportunity to work with these companies was amazing and such an exciting thing, that I am sure will produce some outstanding work.




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This blog is written as part of my studies on the Falmouth University photography ma, an accredited educational programme.