Photography BA (hons)

Alexander James Van Der Byl

Eisegesis ‘The process of interpreting text’

Digital prints on Hahnemüle paper

Eisegesis explores how words conjure up imagery and how imagery conjure up words. It takes direct quotes from a series of nineteenth-century travel writings in Maurice Keatinge’s Travels in Europe and Africa.

The three landscape images create parallels between visual and verbal memory and how one informs the other, generating an amalgamation of the two.



Source material

Maurice Keatinge Travels in Europe and Africa… Comprising a Journey Through France, Spain, and Portugal, to Morocco,(London, 1816)
DiscoverEd URL

Shelf mark

Special Collections: *P.18.36 

Playfair location: *P18.36 

Alexander James Van Der Byl

Portrait & interview

1. What was it about this project and brief that originally appealed to you?

The creative process of this project interested me as it is making a direct artistic response to a found source material within the special collection at Edinburgh University.

2. What was your approach in searching for material that you wanted to work with?

An ongoing interest of mine has been the idea of self-reflection in the form of diary writing, I used this as a starting point for my exploration. 

3. Did you find anything about the project challenging?

Designing and constructing the book was challenging as I wanted to incorporate many different ideas into one. 

4. What unexpected discoveries did you manage to make during your research?

As I chose to create a series of landscape images, it was difficult to plan due to the challenges of the weather. I also wanted to stay true to a visual interpretation of the text.

5. How has this project had impact on your art practice?

This project has taught me the importance of proprietary research and how it informs the final result. As the brief was strictly geared towards how students could conduct research and extrapolate relevant information for artistic response.

6. Did your final output end up as you’d envisaged?

Answer: The final output of ‘Eisegesis’ remained similar to the original concept proposed, although the design of the artist book went through a couple of stages of development.

7. What advice would you give to someone doing this project next year?

My advice would be to spend more time collecting research material as that would inform your decisions on how you carry out the project.

Copyright & open licence

Copyright © Alexander James Van Der Byl, The University of Edinburgh 2020 CC BY-SA

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

CC BY-SA license