Monday, 26 November 2012

Assignment 5

I had to e-mail my tutor with some ideas for this one. I'd already started a photography projects book mid-course and have filled quite a few pages with random thoughts - some are much longer term and hopefully I will be able to carry them on to use in the level 2 courses. I pulled together a couple of notes from the book and also two new ideas and sent an e-mail to my tutor. One of them, a kind of typological portrait project, he said was intriguing but would need some thought on how to deal with the technical issues. He also liked a much broader idea I had to do a project based on the regeneration of the Margate seaside resort in Kent - that is the one I'm going with.

I was asked to look at the following books and my review can be found here:

Mark Power - The Shipping Forecast

Martin Parr - The Last Resort

Tony Ray-Jones

I've made some rough sketches to pre-visualise some of the kinds of image I want to make and to help me keep on track and get the most out of my first visit. I've also left enough wriggle room in the day's shooting to allow for plenty of spontaneity too. The plan is to come back from the first shoot and process and analyse what I have. Then, I can look at my book notes and see what I am missing and go back once or twice more to complete my project. Here are a couple of pages from my rough notes. I really can't draw for toffee and haven't even tried to make them realistic. The sketches are just visual reminders:

I've now made my first visit and I am quite pleased with my initial set of images. The shooting plan served me well as a visual reminder of what I wanted to achieve and as I suspected there are gaps in the shooting sequence that I need to fill. I updated my notes with more visual ideas based on what I had seen during my first day's shoot and I will be making a second visit to Margate once the rain and wind hold off.

Okay, my assignment is now complete and posted off. I had a few bumps along the way. I'd convinced myself halfway through that I had all the images I needed for my sequence - even though I hadn't taken any of the portraits that I'd planned. Because I knew that approaching strangers on the seafront at Margate would be uncomfortable I told myself to go with what I had. That was a big mistake. When the prints came back from the online lab I'd had time to clear my head and I knew that the sequence needed lifting with the missing portraits. So, I went back out and once I'd got going the task wasn't nearly as bad as I'd imagined it to be. I also took a small digital recording device with me to record peoples memories and anecdotes about Margate. I have transcribed these and printed selected excerpts to go with some of the images.

Anyway, here are my final images in sequence:

Tutor Feedback:

My tutor felt that this assignment was a good end to the course for me and he particularly liked image 10 - noting that I had used the visual language of Alec Soth to make it. This is true. I was heavily influenced by Soth's book, Sleeping by the Mississippi, when I undertook this assignment. He also felt that my portraits were well considered and suggested studying August Sander and Emil Otto Hoppe with regards to further reading on the genre. It was also noted that the Soth methodology (to include portraits in a sequence of images to help enrich the narrative) was used effectively in my sequence. He thought the last three photographs were particularly strong and a good exit to the sequence.

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