Nicola South Student number: 514516
Produce a series of approximately 12 photographs that are made on, or explore the idea of, a journey. The journey that you document may be as long or as short as you like. You may choose to re- examine a familiar route, such as a commute to work or another routine activity, or it may be a journey into unfamiliar territory. You may travel by any means available.
In this work I used a journey as a tool for researching and defining territory. My journey is one around a town on foot via roundabouts and the roundabouts are the motif of the series. Each image addresses the relationship of myself as the photographer to my geographical but also the psychological environment. My perspective on these spaces is that they qualify as “Edgelands” although in an urban environment “we pass through without regarding; untranslated landscape…meant to be seen from a car window” (Farley 2013). These spaces are passed through but largely ignored, except for the signage and traffic signals, devised to be traveled through in a vehicle, but I passed through them as a pedestrian.
My working methods were influenced by the photographers working with topologies and the new topographies such as the Bechers, Frank Gohike, and Robert Adams. I learnt from them that work can be topological, have consistent technical rigour, yet have the style of a particular photographer, bring the actuality of a place to viewers’ attention and may also render it beautiful. When on location used a psychogeographical approach allowing myself to immerse myself, feel the environment and respond to it. This is not a work of psychogeography, but I have used the modernist approach, that it is the nature of the depiction, not just the depiction that is important.
With this in mind I experimented with various approaches. I was influenced initially by Paul Graham’s “The A1 The Great North Road” (1980-82), his documentary colour pictures of roadside landscape; in particular the variety, colour and clarity of his images. I was similarly stimulated by Martin Parr’s representations of motorways, ring roads and traffic junctions in his work “Boring” (1999), the cleanness of his images (lack of distracting details) and the colour work. I explored Lee Friedlander’s work “America by car” (2010) but was influenced more by the wider body of his work and the way that he uses geometry and lines to distort and add more dimensions to his images.
I moved on from photographing “straight” typologies, whilst still trying to capture the commonalities and individual facets of each roundabout, to presenting them in my own way. I have presented them through my perception as a pedestrian as well as my perspective as a photographer seeking a satisfying composition. I finally chose to photograph the roundabouts as empty as possible to expose them, as they are the subject (not the traffic) and eliminate distractions from the viewers. I focused on the often chaotic signage and other “hardware” that is the fabric of roundabouts, kept a good depth of field and a fairly wide angle of view both to give consistent visual outcomes but also to share these landscapes in the way that they presented to me when in them. The lines that often dominate in the images are symbols of interruptions to these landscapes that traffic, noise and pollution cause me both physically and psychologically.
I have given my thoughts on the effectiveness of different elements of this project in the reflections against the assessment criteria that follow this post. However I will say here that as I immersed myself in these roundabout landscapes I formed a good understanding of each and I do think the images expose some of the similarities and differences at each, which was my concept,; it is a lineal and comparative journey.
Farley, P. (2013). Edgelands. [Place of publication not identified]: Camden.
This work is a journey into the landscapes of roundabouts, places often isolated from pedestrians and unobserved by motorists. It is a visual reflection on a landscape that has human contact but in a distant manner. My journey through this territory of roundabouts is both lineal and comparative. I hope my visual perspective shared here will cause some reflection and possibly an intention to look closer next time.
Unnamed: 1.3 miles
Swing Swang: 1.6 miles
Daneshill: 1.9 miles
Crockford: 3.1 miles
Houndmills: 5 miles
Eastrop : 7.8 miles
Victory: 8.3 miles
West Ham: 9.5 miles
Brighton Hill: 10.7 miles
Winchester Road: 11.2 miles
Blackdam: 13.2 miles
i will also experiment with capturing the noise of road traffic at the roundabouts and attach to the images with the intention of it playing in the gallery in the space that the images occupy.