Dean Leivers Photographer Dean Leivers Photographer


Project Prep and the Start of Delivery

April 16th, 2021

Project plans are in place and following the recent relaxation of Covid lockdown restrictions I now have the go ahead to start work with one of the partner schools. Starting next week I’ll be onsite at Greenfield Primary School in Leicestershire working as both an artist in residence and workshop leader working with pupils across the school from Reception through to Year 6. I’m very excited for them to see “The Igloo” which I’ll be using as my base in the school grounds. I gave it a little bit of a road test (only just managing to fit the structure in my back garden!) and I’m very happy that it’ll be a brilliant place for me to create an artist’s studio. Whilst allowing me to create Cyanotype prints no matter what the weather, as it’s transparent the pupils will be able to see me working and literally have a window into my process and set up.

So expect plenty of updates from me over the next few weeks as I settle into school life, work on developing my own imagery and practice and collaborate with other artists to help me think a bit differently about my approach.

Bookings, Kit and Brexit

January 22nd, 2021

The new year is in full swing and the beginning stages of the ‘Dependent Origination’ project are well underway. Various project co-ordination tasks have been completed and documents set up to monitor my progress in the form of a timetable alongside budgeting spreadsheets to ensure I keep on top of the finances. I’ve started the search for equipment that I need to complete the proposed activity, the main purchase being that of the dome.


The dome (or Garden Igloo, to give it its proper title) will act as my artist studio when on site at the schools or community partners venues during the project. It will allow me a space to make work and research and also act as a space to deliver workshops to small groups. The transparent material will be a good way to keep wind and rain out whilst allowing my Cyanotypes to expose to UV light, so it’s a pretty integral part of the project! Currently the dome is winging its way from Germany and is unfortunately a victim of Brexit related delays and so may not make it to me until March given current estimates. It’s certainly a factor that I hadn’t considered when developing the project. As it goes though, I couldn’t find the same product or something suitable from a UK seller and as this is all out of my sphere of influence I’ll just have to accept that this is the way that things are. It’s definitely made me think that for the rest of my equipment purchases I need to look a little closer to home though.

Another aspect affecting the project that I couldn’t really plan for is the Covid-19 pandemic and obviously whilst I was aware that the situation was ongoing when I received the funding, I wasn’t quite prepared for the impact on schools, especially the current closures. However, this week I did press on and book provisional dates with one of the planned school partners for the project. Hopefully they will be able to open and invite visiting artists in by the time of the proposed set of delivery dates. Time will tell.

Speaking of Covid, I was a very lucky recipient of Arts Council Emergency Funding which has allowed me to continue to develop other areas of my practice alongside ‘Dependent Origination’. I’ve developed treatments for a series of photography tutorial videos which I hope to begin filming very soon. They will ultimately become a set of stand-alone series that beginners and improvers can purchase and download from me directly. I’ve also used some of the time that the funds allowed to begin researching and making work for a video landscape series which I intend to become an installation piece (once gallery spaces can operate again).


Visually it’s currently a number of tryptichs depicting a response to the six elements (as described in an advanced Buddhist meditation practice). The above still is a simple test set up to give me a sense of what I can achieve using the software and kit I have available. I’m currently pleased with the early stages of development with both of these paths and feeling prepared for the inevitable challenges ahead.

Arts Council Project Funding

December 2nd, 2020

I’m incredibly happy to announce that I was the recent recipient of funding from Arts Council England to develop and deliver a photographic arts project across selected schools in Leicester and Leicestershire, alongside community activites.

The project ‘Dependent Origination’ was born from reading scientific, fictional & spiritual texts that fed into the idea that we are all aiming to discover our place & purpose. Dependent Origination is a phrase in Buddhist teaching which recognises that all things arise dependent on the conditions present, be that emotional states, physical situations/experiences even life itself.

Just as our place in the world may not be fixed the project will relocate and take place in a pop-up dome, acting as a studio & workshop. This moveable studio will then tour between schools and community settings providing participatory workshop oppportunities. The transparent dome complements the chosen photographic process and an aim: offering sight lines into artistic practice for groups who don’t usually access the arts. The project utilises the Cyanotype process; creating light sensitive surfaces by coating materials with chemicals that change colour when exposed to UV light. Placing materials on the surface (EG dust, earth, plants) leaves behind an impression of the object.

Project strands will research & develop my personal work in progress and pilot an outreach touring model for underserved groups & developing audiences. It tests a paid-for model, accessibility & the impact it can have on practice & participation. A short film will document the work, alongside project blog and social media updates.

As stated above the project has been made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England, for which I’m incredibly grateful. Huge thanks also to Sam and Jodie at Platform Thirty1 who provided support during the application stage and who will also be providing project support around the delivery and evaluation stages.

Frame 36 - 3/5/20

May 3rd, 2020

It’s been a remarkably long time since I last posted anything relating to research and project ideas…posted anything at all really! Given the current worldwide situation, specifically my current situation in lockdown in the UK I’m finding I have more time to reflect, read and type. Obviously, my commissions for photographic work have dropped off as we all stick to government guidelines and a lot of us stay at home and away from workplaces. However as I said this has afforded me some more time to be able to focus on other activities that have been neglected in favour of commissioned work over the last year or so.

I like thousands of freelance artists have applied to receive emergency funding from the Arts Council. I’d been working on and had submitted a large bid for a project grant before Covid-19 put a halt to all applications. This was to bolster work on my current work in progress project ‘Dependent Origination’ which i had hoped to widen out into workshops based in both school and community settings.

If I receive the emergency funding it’s the plan to continue that work with the Cyanotype process but formulate new ways of getting an audience to engage with the work. More updates on that will follow.

I have also been working on the development of a Podcast series. I’ve long considered the ways of creating audio to compliment more editorial style practice and I now feel confident that the Podcast format is the right route for me. I recently completed a short course with Future Learn that gave me some fantastic information and guidance on producing engaging audio content. Visually I’ll be aiming to create series that follow a similar visual style to this project by Alphabet.

I’ll be updating with more research and work in progress soon. I really want to make sure that I use this opportunity to continue to strive and progress.

Be well,


March 31st, 2019

Exhibition Visit 11/04/19

Anthony Prothero’s latest body of work “Ipseity” is a “visual investigation into memory, imagination and the family album”. The exhibition and accompanying book were a product of the artists masters study at Falmouth University. The exhibition comprised of a series of large scale images from various sections of the book alongside a video piece and an audio installation. Imagery ranged from still life set ups of the artists grandmothers belongings, collected and curated images of family trips abroad, scanned and distorted family portraits. The video installation detailed silent super 8 footage of a family wedding and my personal highlight of the exhibition an audio piece which presented a discussion between the artist and his grandmother about a particular image in the exhibition.

Much has been said on the use of personal/ family archives for project material, during my own undergraduate degree I too delved into my own family archive and I still find it an interesting topic, even when I have no relation to those depicted. I think this is due to work of this nature forcing me to consider the relationship I have with my own family archive, so those images that exist from my own childhood and before. Also following the birth of my daughter and my imminent second child I consider the ways I might continue building  my own personal collection. How should I record family life? Which means are most effective in the modern technological age? Do I even record enough of family activity?

Most would argue that it’s never been easier for us to capture our experiences with the advent of smart phone technology, with most of the worlds population having access to a camera in their pocket but I feel that it’s what we do with those images that is most important. Is uploading our lives to countless digital social media albums any different to stocking photo albums on shelves in our homes only for both to be ignored for most of the time that follows the event. During this exhibition I pondered the question “I wonder how many times this wedding video had been viewed before being put on a loop in a gallery context?”

A record of our lives is important and interesting even if only in our own family circles, what Anthony has done here is succeeding in making his own personal family artefacts interesting whilst allowing us as viewers to question the importance of our own. The other elements of the exhibition, namely the sound and video pieces have made me question photography’s effectiveness as a tool to record our personal memories. Is it just one of many tools that when used together can create a more meaningful reflection of our lives? Ultimately we all crave to be remembered when our lives are over. Looking at the strangers actions, appearances, belongings here brings to mind the transient nature of our experiences and lives, as soon as they have happened they are gone much like the capturing of an image. Can photographs or possessions really tell us anything about those pictured or are they merely vessels for those left looking to reflect on a life once known? In the end it is really all just “stuff”, providing a more public context would surely strike chords for those with a personal connection to the images on show. For the rest of us it highlights an urgency to ensure that our own collections are of interest to our own family after we are gone and not just adding to an already huge pile of belongings to sort through.

All images courtesy of the artist.

February 26th, 2019

Detail from a work in progress print. Part of the series ‘Dependent Origination’. A project that utilises the cyanotype process to investigate the universal landscape. for more work in progress images.

#cyanotype #cyanotypes #print #analogue #analogphotography #history #historical #birth #celestial #humancondition #thewaythingsare

Frame 36 - 02/12/18

December 2nd, 2018

In my last entry I mentioned moving on to new projects. So whilst I continue to share my ‘Peninsula’ series on my website and also using Instagram for regular updates I’ve been researching and creating ideas for my new work. I’ve slightly moved away from digital processes lately, mainly due to my commercial work relying heavily on digital practice, however I say slightly as there is at present still the use of scanners and editing software to tidy up images and create the final result. I’m currently using the cyanotype process to create abstract visuals that investigate the notion of the universal landscape, our connectedness to the world around us and contemplating our place in the universe. Whilst beginning to delve into books about psychology and spiritual practice I’ve also been gathering and seeking out visual inspiration to inform the project. The following posts link to projects and articles I’ve found interesting over the last fortnight:

Anna Atkins via The New York Times

A couple of projects more abstract in approach:

Kate Pollard Hoffman via Lenscratch

Jill Booker via Lensculture

Barbara Bosworth via Lenscratch

Finally an advertorial piece on the British Journal of Photography website which details newspaper print as a means of sharing work offline in a relatively affordable way. 

Given my discoveries of the costs involved creating the print on demand book for my last project this could be a future avenue worth bearing in mind.

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Twitter - @deanleivers
Instagram - @dleivers

Frame 36 - 18/11/18

November 18th, 2018

A very quick update this week to tell you that here it is…the finished series, ’Peninsula’ is now available to view on my website


It’s been a long time since I started creating and editing this work and I’m really proud of the end result. I think I’m most proud of the lessons learned along the way and the challenges to the way that I operate as an art photographer. A lot of these insights I intend to take into my next project which is currently in progress and which I plan to post updates about soon.

I’ve also put together a book of the series which is available via Blurb or by clicking the book sales link at the bottom of my website

If you’ve been following this little journey over the last few months then thank you very much for reading and if you like the work and you think that others might like it too please feel free to share the links around.

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Twitter - @deanleivers
Instagram - @dleivers

Frame 36 - 4/11/18

November 4th, 2018

More of a project update this week as some work comes to it’s end and new work begins to take shape. My landscape series ‘Peninsula’ is almost ready for release. The book layout is complete and the edit selected. I will be officially putting the work out online next week along with details on where to purchase a copy of the self published book.


It’s been a long time coming and at times I’ve struggled to get this series to a place where I’m truly happy with the final selection. On reflection a lot of this was linked to a lack of confidence in my work and also a need to focus on more commercial pursuits in order to put food on the table. I am however pleased with the resulting series and it’s been an enjoyable experience reflecting on the reasons behind the creation of the work and including these musings within the project.

The renewed sense of enthusiasm that working on 'Peninsula’ has contributed to the beginning of new work. I’ve started to really get into the thick of creating images for an as yet untitled project that utilises the cyanotype process alongside digital processes. 


Although abstract in their aesthetic the images are, in my mind still linked to landscape. I’m considering the universal landscape, our connection to the creation of the entire universe and our place within it. The connections that we all have with the natural world and with each other and considering the importance of this interconnectivity through the creation of imagery that can invoke thoughts and responses from viewers that are personal to them. I’m also currently exploring suitable accompanying text/poetry that can compliment the images. As a result a lot of my research of late has been focused on 'camera-less’ images. Some of which I’ve included below:


Dominique Teufen via Lensculture


Glen Scheffer 'Record Scapes, The Water is Cold Here, Performance of Space’ via Lenscratch

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Instagram - @dleivers

October 21st, 2018

Frame 36 - 21/10/18

Time of late has been filled with lots of freelance commission activity, workshop delivery and some design work for regular clients. Still I’ve made time for personal work. In terms of the ‘Peninsula’ project the layout for my self published book is complete aside from adding the finishing touches to the layout of the text. I plan to sell these on a print to order basis online through a site such as Blurb.

Alongside this I’ve also been keeping one eye on future projects. I’ve been considering wider and more abstract aspects of landscapes and I’ve considered our surroundings more universally of late. I’ve started to express these thoughts visually and have begun to experiment with the Cyanotype process to try and capture these musings without the use of a camera.

I’m enjoying experimenting with the medium, mixing traditional and digital techniques whilst allowing objects and materials to react with each other.

Whilst researching as I formulate new ideas for project work I’ve come across a few articles and projects I’ve found interesting:

Alec Soth on his influential photobook 'Niagra’ via the British Journal of Photography

Niagra was a huge influence on me both during and after my degree study. I looked at this work many times whilst creating my series 'Ways to Begin’ and I still return to Soth’s work often.

What next for photography in the age of Instagram? via the Guardian

A hugely interesting article discussing the role Instagram has to play in the landscape of contemporary photography. As someone who makes a lot of use of the platform this was well worth time and attention.

Finally a stunning series, 'Love Bites’ by Tim Richmond via the Guardian

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Twitter - @deanleivers

Instagram - @dleivers

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