Nicola South Student number:514516
SPACE INTO PLACE
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.
Parrog place 2.
Parrog place 3.
Parrog place 4.
Parrog place 5.
Parrog place 6.
Parrog place 7.
Parrog place 8.
Parrog place 9.
Parrog place 10.
Parrog place 11.
Parrog Place 12.
GALLERY PLAN: The series should be presented horizontally and lineally.
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.
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.
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