PHOTOGRAPHY ASSIGNMENT 3 : REFLECTION AGAINST ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

ASSIGNMENT 3: SPACES TO PLACES

REFLECTION AGAINST ASSESSMENT CRITERIA POINTS

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

  • I tried initially to use my subconscious response to the place and to really observe, this helped me to see beyond the many conventional images of the space which mainly say “picturesque”.
  • Using my new prime lens which I had experimented with a lot over the previous month pushed me to move around to find the angles and relationships that I needed to capture – I really enjoy using it.
  • The shooting though over a couple of weeks was mainly in cloudy dull weather. I tried to get as great a depth of field as the light would allow as I worked without a tripod so that I could move quickly and respond to my instincts and to avoid moving people and vehicles.
  • I previsualised more than ever before when setting up shots, particularly as I thought I would present the series in black and white. Once I decided this I purposely sought compositions that had good texture, shape, lines a, edges and contrast, though I lost a few during editing.

Quality of outcome

  • I thought hard about my intention for the work, signs of the space being places.
  • I also thought hard about the context, historical and contemporary imprints on the land and how to anchor this meaning.
  • Ultimately I formed a series by finding cohesion in the dominance of the sea wall and stone structures in the place.
  • When editing I used my learning from the photographer study day Mimi Mollica, in particular to make sure I was saying something with each image.
  • I returned to shoot on numerous occasions having viewed images from a previous shoot to change/improve images.
  • I have returned to including contact sheets this time to show how I have edited the series.

Demonstration of creativity

  • I felt confident as I shot and committed myself to my own pathway and intent.
  • I let myself respond intuitively to the subject and didn’t overthink things.
  • I feel that in the assignment that my personal voice is emerging, a way of seeing and a way of presenting my response, although I know I need to reflect on it more in “real time” in my journal.
  • I am happy that I have created work that is not a conventional view on a subject and feel that each image has something to say.
  • Although I had studied the location for exercise 5 I had no intention then to use it. I chose this location as my place because I knew it would produce a deep response in me it and as I wanted to discover what that would be. I encouraged myself to look in a different way to that which I do normally when there.

Context

  • My coursework led me to research that then led me into the assignment well. I deliberately didn’t chose a subject/location until I had finished the coursework this time. I was particularly influenced in my work by Jem Southam (the passage of time and slow looking), Joel Meyerowitz ( responding to place), Paul Hill (observation and composition skills), Raymond Moore ( consciousness of place), mark Ruwedel (landscape as agents for change).
  • Although I ran behind on the hand in for this assignment I was photographically active, especially on assignment 6 and with wider research and photographic events during the time; I feel I did the right thing to delay and incorporate this learning in my work.
  • I regret that I haven’t captured this more I real time in my journal but it is all contained in my blog: Photo London, study days, google hangouts, artist talks and physical meetings with OCA photography colleagues.
  • This assignment caused much reflection during it and even up to the final day of the draft when comments by peers at a hangout caused me to change 2 images in the series.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY ASSIGNMENT 3 DRAFT: SPACES TO PLACES

SPACE INTO PLACE

ARTISTS STATEMENT:

As a landscape photographer I observe and interrogate the world. These images are a study of a space that has become a place, my response to the traces of the past mingled with more recent imprints. I seek to expose the significance and sense of the place.

THE PARROG AS PLACE

Parrog place 1.

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Parrog place 2.

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Parrog place 3.

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Parrog place 4.

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Parrog place 5.

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Parrog place 6.

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Parrog place 7.

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Parrog place 8.

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Parrog place 9.

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Parrog place 10.

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Parrog place 11.

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Parrog Place 12.

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THE BRIEF

Within a series of up to 12 photographs, explore a landscape, or a small part of a landscape, which you believe to have some kind of significance. This may be a landscape with which you have a personal relationship, or it may be somewhere that is more widely known. This may be a very specific location, or it may be a more generic type of space.

The objective of this assignment is to engage with the question of how a ‘space’ becomes a ‘place’. Your project should put into practice the idea that a ‘place’ is a constructed, subjective term that, for whatever reason (political, industrial, mythological, environmental), is imposed upon, or becomes associated with, a particular ‘space’.

You’re free to approach this project with whatever strategy you feel is appropriate to your subject matter (Alexander,p113,2013).

THE PARROG AS PLACE

This space has been a significant place for a thousand years and for me only a quarter of my life. When in this place I feel hiraeth, a sense of nostalgia and an inborn sense of yearning, and grieve for it when I am away; it is a space which affects many people in a similar way. Here places have been constructed over time that hold both the imprints of the present and echoes of the past. I hope with this work to achieve what Adams says he expects from an artist, “help in discovering the significance of a place” (Adams, 2009, p16).

This place exemplifies the difference between a space and place. The space, a coastal zone of wave cut platforms, sand bar, dunes and river estuary was formed 17 million years ago and is reshaped by the elements every day. The space is simply a geographical/environmental area where these things are located. Place has been described as having three dimensions: locations for activities, interactions and community where there is a strong sense of “belonging” (Agnew, 2011). I also like Farinelli’s definition of place as “part of the terrestrial surface that is not equivalent to any other, that cannot be exchanged with any other without everything changing” (Farinelli, 2003, 11). This space carries the marks of becoming a place over a long length of time and is unique.

The Parrog is a coastal part of Tredraeth (settlement by the sandy shore) in Pembrokeshire Wales. It developed from a settlement to a seaport; remaining medieval stonewalls, and slipways as well as the drystone quays, lime kilns, life boat house and warehouse are testament to this. No longer a trading port it is a tourist destination on the coastal path with a boat club, camp site, restaurant, car park, bus-shelter and holiday homes.

I chose this place to photograph following my research of photographers such as Raymond Moore who describe consciousness of place as an intense awareness which becomes compelling (remembering Raymond Moore, 2018). When there I feel, as Joel Meyerowitz’s describes, “a dawning awareness that you feel good in this place. Something here makes you attentive, brings you to an awakened state” (The ASX team, 2010) and capitalised on this when photographing.  Initially I shot with no strategy except to really look and sense the place. I found many signs of place shifting over time, as an onion revealing its layers; so as I progressed I sought images that showed both historical and contemporary imprints on the land, combined with the presence of the seashore or walls as a constant feature. I thought of Jem Southam talking about being a witness to the landscape and Mark Ruwedel explaining “land reveals itself as being both an agent of change and the field of human endeavour” (Tate, 2019), though this led me to concerns about differentiating this landscape from documentary work; I was helped by Well’s idea that in Landscape “Unlike photojournalism, there is rarely a sense of decisive moment” (Wells, p343 2015) and they aren’t staged.

I pursued a variety of perspectives, the mundane and detail and when framing was also mindful of Paul Hill stressing the importance of everything in the viewfinder (Hill, 2004). Using a prime lens ensured I moved to find effective angles and relationships, to make unconventional images, but primarily to capture the sense of the place and its spirit. I decided to present this series in black and white, a first for me, because I knew it would emphasise the reality and gritty determination that forms the backbone of both the structure and spirit of the place, as opposed to the conventional picturesque views more usually offered. With this in mind I hunted for texture, contrast, lines and edges that would make effective black and white images.

Intellect only came into play as I edited to form a series which shares both information, historical and contemporary, as well as my response to this place. I hope that my way of seeing and the impressions that I present of the Parrog will say something to enhance viewers understanding of it as a place both now and over time.

References:

Adams, R. (2009). Beauty in photography. New York, NY: Aperture.

Agnew J and D. Livingstone (eds.) Handbook of Geographical Knowledge. London: Sage, 2011.

Alexander, J (2013) Photography 2 Landscape. Open College of the Arts. Barnsley.

Farinelli, F. (2003) Geografia. Un’introduzione ai modelli del mondo. Turin: Einaudi.

Hill, P. (2004). Approaching photography. Lewes, East Sussex, U.K: Photographers’ Institute Press.

Remembering Raymond Moore (2018) At: http://the-golden-fleece.co.uk/wp/remembering-raymond-moore/ (Accessed on 14 May 2019)

Tate (2019) Mark Ruwedel born 1954 | Tate. At: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/mark-ruwedel-13509 (Accessed on 15 May 2019).

The ASX Team (2010) An Interview with Joel Meyerowitz – Creating A Sense of Place. At: https://www.americansuburbx.com/2010/03/interview-interview-with-joel.html (Accessed on 13 May 2019)

Wells, L. (2015). Photography A Critical Introduction. London: Taylor & Francis.

Next post: https://nkssite4.wordpress.com/2019/06/18/photography-assignment-draft-reflection-against-assessment-criteria-2/

 

 

LEARNING LOG: ASSIGNMENT 3

SPACES TO PLACES

PLANNING:

My coursework didn’t lead me to a clear path for this assignment, apart from the possible question whether a landscape is better photographed by an insider or outsider.

Mind map coursework learning:

I was interested to learn more of the work of Jem Southam, Paul Hill and Jeff Meyerowitz so I extended my research on these whilst investigating also some other landscape photographers, Raymond Moore and Mark Ruwedal. My research coincided with a visit to photo London where I came upon the work of Stephen Shore “details”.

This research led me to work on a series where I could explore things that I had learnt from their work.

Mind map assignment planning:

I thought there was a strong chance that I would for the first time present this assignment as a black and white series so I also researched tips for effective black and white images.

see: https://nkssite4.wordpress.com/2019/06/17/research-black-and-white-shooting/

SHOOTING

I decided to use as my location The Parrog, which I’d researched in exercise 3.5.see However I had no clear plan before I set out on an initial exploration; I say exploration as I spend a lot of my time I this place, I am an insider here, however I wanted to try to discover it with new eyes and “feel” the place. I took the idea of this from:

  • Paul Hill – ask why were in a place and see what confronts us
  • Jem Southam – Photographing as a witness to a landscape
  • Raymond Moore- consciousness of a place
  • Jeff Meyerowtz- photographing as a response to a place

My tests shots confirmed that there is plenty of physical evidence of The Parrog both as a place and with places within it. Also that these places have evolved over time and reveal mans changing use of place and interventions over time; the shifting landscapes that Southam, Moore and Ruwedal are attracted to.

I then had to decide whether I would seek to capture shoots with historical and contemporary evidence in them or to capture them separately; once again I took the unplanned route and explored to see how they presented themselves to me. In the event they were nearly always intertwined in a location.

I used my research and learning of black and white photography. As I shot I pre-visualised for effective black and white images looking in particular for:

  • good contrast
  • edges/lines
  • monotonic compositions
  • extremes of light and dark areas
  • texture.

Then when shooting I tried to frame quite forcefully.

As my shooting progressed and I returned to locations I found I was naturally seeking out signs of a site being a place both in the past and the present and then turned my conscious mind to other things that would be important to successful consistent shooting for my series:

  • Weather/background/lighting
  • Shapes and tones/contrast which would be good for black and white images
  • Interesting perspective and framing – remember Hills’s 3 important things: light, vantage point, frame
  • Resist the picturesque seek the less conventional
  • Seek the mundane and look for detail – images that will give information
  • As good depth of field that the lighting conditions would allow

I used my new prime lens Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8,as I’d become quite at home with it over the past month and it required me to move around a lot and really consider where to take and image from. I knew also that seeking black and white subjects I would need to really consider shape form and contrast.

Mind map shooting:

EDITING

Though I wasn’t necessarily committed to black and white I chose images that I thought would translate well into black and white.

After my 2nd shoot I steered away from images that were too documentary in style and eliminated any of those that remained such as:

   

6919                                                               6237

6550

I also eliminated those that didn’t show evidence of the sea or sea walls as I wanted that to be a motif such as:

6636

After this I converted those remaining to black and white and took out those that looked weak in black and white:

  

6217                                                          6588

  

6796                                                                    6604

6906

I weeded out those that were a similar subject matter like:

 

6176                                                          6446

I asked myself of each of the final 12:

  • Does this show space as a place?
  • Does it include both contemporary and older evidence of place?
  • Does it show that the place is near the sea shore?
  • Is it bold?
  • Does the image say something?

Forming a series

I formed the initial series as below but then thought again following a google hangout with Landscape colleagues (see: https://nkssite4.wordpress.com/category/learning-log-research-and-reflection/reflection/landscape-google-hangout/hangout-15-6-19/

Initial series:

Some of the feedback caused me to think that the stone walls were the dominant feature and to this end I removed the original images 2 (6835) and 6 (6774) and These I replaced with images and 6 (6599) and 11  (6763):

As I felt they were more in keeping with emphasising the stone structures that are the back bone of this place.

Mindmap editing:

Next post: https://nkssite4.wordpress.com/category/learning-log/assignment-3-spaces-to-places/assignment-3-spaces-to-places-draft/a3-draft-contact-sheets/