Tag Archives: Landscape

Exercise 3.5 – Local History

The exercise as that we take at least half a day to perform historical research on the local area and produce a list of research points. It also asks how this research could be used to produce some scenes of the local landscape linking it to the local history.

The Local History of Haddinton

The county of East Lothian has for centuries been an area of dispute between different factions; it has been fought over, captured and defended by armies from many different countries and factions.

Splitting down the history into sections of East Lothian has meant that I have been able to distil different historical, political, industrial and social events down into bullet points.

In no historical order.

  • Stone Age Encampment
  • Roman fortifications
  • Rough Wooing
  • Cromwell and the English Civil War
  • Jacobite Revolution
  • Coal Mining
  • Fishing
  • Salt Panning
  • Religious Retreats
  • Lighter than air craft
  • WW2 airfields for Fighters and Bombers
  • Integration of people following Glasgow Slum Clearances
  • Lowland Clearances
  • Late 1980s loss of Industry
  • Greenbelt development for Commuter villages

Using the local library online services and the online databases of the John Grey Centre I was able to refine my search to the locale of Haddington. I found quite a few smaller events, but decided on one event which is understood by some of the residents but not all; this event is the siege of Haddington which happened as part of the rough wooing. A period of turmoil where political alliances were being made through marriage; Henry VIII wanted to align Scotland and England through the marriage to his son Edward II to Mary I of Scotland, to force the situation in his favour Henry VIII attacked Scotland in an attempt to break the “Auld Alliance” with France.

After a number of bloody battles, including the disastrous battle of Pinkie, much of Southern Scotland was under occupation by English Forces. Scottish forces won and then lost Haddington to Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury. During the successful defence of Haddington, the English commander Sir James Wilford had a number of earthwork platforms created as positions form his cannons.

Siege of Haddington Englis earth and timber fortress

After the siege ended, a number of the earth works were felled, and the rest left to history. Many were lost in the following expansion of Haddington through the 18th, 19th and 20th centry, but it appears as part of my research I may have found one of the last cannon platforms in a field not far from where I reside.

I have started to verify the locations using the old documents as well as the against the archaeological records from the John Grey centre and then visit the locale and photograph it.

The rest of the area of old Haddington can still be found in the seams of the new town. Currently there are only two photographs regarding the siege and neither cover the actual area. Using the map contained within the book ‘Feat of Arms, The siege of Haddington’  (Unwin.G pp40) I have started plan to scout out the landscape both within the original town boundaries as per the barricades and the outlining areas where not only the cannons were located but also plotting and examining the locations, shown in this image where the fortification plan is overlain the area of the town as mapped in around 1590

 

Map of haddington showing siege locations

top down overlayhaddington

 

The route should take me around the church which has stone scars from the battles and past the west side of the town where the highlanders were repelled and their encampment where they laid siege to the town for just over a year until the siege ended and the English withdrew to Berwick Upon Tweed.

I want to be able to capture not only the town within the town by show how the landscape has been moulded by man and which has removed a number of historic developments and events from said landscape.

 

Harvard References

Explore the Map. 2018. Explore the Map. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.johngraycentre.org/map/. [Accessed 12 November 2018].

John Gray Centre. 2018. You searched for – John Gray Centre. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.johngraycentre.org/collections/getrecord/ELHER_MEL9227/. [Accessed 12 November 2018].

Grid Reference Finder | Ordnance Survey Map. 2018. Grid Reference Finder | Ordnance Survey Map. [ONLINE] Available at: https://gridreferencefinder.com/os.php?x=352925&y=674512<=55.961303&lg=-2.7556060. [Accessed 12 November 2018].

Haddington, Town Defences | Canmore. 2018. Haddington, Town Defences | Canmore. [ONLINE] Available at: https://canmore.org.uk/site/56532/haddington-town-defences. [Accessed 12 November 2018].

Siege of Haddington 1548 – English Earth and Timber Fortress. 2018. Siege of Haddington 1548 – English Earth and Timber Fortress. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.maybole.org/history/battles/Siege%20of%20Haddington%201548.htm. [Accessed 12 November 2018].

Explore georeferenced maps – Map images – National Library of Scotland. 2018. Explore georeferenced maps – Map images – National Library of Scotland. [ONLINE] Available at: https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=16&lat=55.9595&lon=-2.7706&layers=5&b=1. [Accessed 12 November 2018].

John Gray Centre. 2018.[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.johngraycentre.org/collections/getrecord/ELHER_MEL9227/. [Accessed 12 November 2018].

View: Haddington – Great Reform Act Plans and Reports, 1832. 2018. View: Haddington – Great Reform Act Plans and Reports, 1832. [ONLINE] Available at: https://maps.nls.uk/view/74491854. [Accessed 12 November 2018].

View: Plan of Haddington and Nungate. – Town Plans by John Wood. 2018. View: Plan of Haddington and Nungate. – Town Plans by John Wood. [ONLINE] Available at: https://maps.nls.uk/view/74400034. [Accessed 12 November 2018].

Gerald, M., 2014. Feat Of Arms: The Siege Of Haddington. Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.

Jon Cooper (2009) What’s Missing Here? Homing in on Haddington’s Lost Defences, Journal of Conflict Archaeology, 5:1, 141-162,

 

Exercise 3.4 – Persuasive Image

Part 1

The exercise asks the student to find three examples of landscape photographs that are being used to assert a particular ideological point of view. Describe how the image communicates its intended message.

Lungs

wwf_lungs

Before it’s too late, WWF France (2008) TBWA\Paris

WWF France presents a clear visual image which presents the viewpoint of the importance of trees to the atmosphere. Here WWF has brought together two clear representations on the idea of clean air, one where trees produce oxygen that we as part of the second representation, as humans our lungs use the oxygen allowing us to survive. By presenting a green landscape where the trees have been planted into groves in the shape of lungs which have now been scarred by logging. The clean graphic design elements and semiotics make the communication is clear here, we need oxygen from the trees without the trees, we cannot fill our lungs.

The graphic advertisement above, ‘Before it’s too late’, elaborately demonstrates how visual manipulation through graphic design invokes emotional manipulation through semiotics, through the use of an image similar to the ones used to prevent smoking.

Wyoming

Wyoming by BVK ad agency - manifest destiny reflection

The original open country, BVK Advertising Agency, Wyoming Tourist Board (2016)

Harking back to the early age of America and to the early age of photography, this image shows the state of Wyoming as the land in the same state as photographed by Watkins and O’Sullivan. America as Manifest Destiny.

The photographer has used the Adams zone system to create a countryside which, although mountainous and grey, has been granted a golden sheen by the sunrise burning through the morning mist. The figures in the foreground are placed slightly off to the left, again harking back to the composition idea in a landscape scene that a figure or shape can be placed in the foreground to give a sense of scale.

Glenfinnan Monument

Landscape Advertising - Glenfinnan Monument - NTS

Glenfinnan Monument, Visit Scotland

By placing the road leading to the monument in the bottom middle of the scene, the photographer forces the eye up the line and into the main body of the scene. The landscape is presented in a format resplendently similar to the landscapes of Turner and Cozens, tame and peaceful, ideologically conquered by man and for the most part unadapted by man. The loch mirrors the sky and flows off into the blue-grey distance bordered by the mountains. It presents the idea of a land welcoming and peaceful, wide vista unspoiled and untouched.

In the foreground is the monument, the statutes gaze off into the peaceful lands, in contradiction to what the monument is representing, which is the Jacobite highlander who died fighting the cause but who was then driven out of the land to go overseas so that the new landlords could farm sheep in the lands formerly owned by the Jacobean clans, which was done as part of the highland clearances in the name of progress and modern land management.

 

Part 2

Consider an issue that you feel strongly about. Design an image that you think will have a persuasive effect upon the viewer.

The issue that I chose is one which many in the local area feel strongly about. A member of a local council has declared that no one is interested in the remains of a Jacobean battlefield and that a large industrial park should be built on the land.

Landscape format image, green fields separated by a path running off into the distance. In the foreground stands a small monument dedicated to the dead buried on the battlefield (for that it is what the green fields are) In the mid-distance two slightly shadowy faint figures stand heads bowed before a cross. The crosses are transparent and are multiples, spread across the fields, representing the dead. In the back of the image, bulldozers rip up the land, pushing over distant crosses while two large industrial cranes tower over the fields.

Banner in the top left of the image, History should be forever, not until politicians forget.

 

Exercise 3.1 – Reflecting on the Picturesque

Having found that the link provided in the course text is no longer available, I used Google, JSTOR, and Archive.org to provide some relevant information.

The picturesque movement gained traction during the years where hedonistic travelers moved by their own curiosity to explore other countries. Authors lead by Gilpin, wrote in a style to convey geographical knowledge gained when traveling, where they could select in advance the places and locations which were worth seeing and reflecting upon. Gilpin especially when writing in his book ‘Observations on the River Wye’ (Gilpin, 1782) viewed the picturesque as a scene where ‘Enchanting’ and elegant’. Where Gilpin was presented with a manufactured or ‘chosen’ view, he preferred the view not to be too manufactured and modern and did not like ‘regularity’ in their shape and design.

Picturesque is the third column for the communication of ideas to the viewer of a landscape. Godwin first proposed the idea of picturesque during his essays and books detailing his journeys around the British landscape. Unlike Burkes Beauty and the Sublime, picturesque was a gentler idea from the age of romanticism in art and literature. Picturesque does not have the ‘dangerous’ frisson contained within Burkes concepts but instead is a gentler, quieter concept where the scene and view are detailed and manufacturer in a way to give a pleasant warm feeling to the viewer. The picturesque landscape may have fences, gates, and buildings removed and instead an animal or farm worker inserted instead to give a sense of scale to the viewer.

In the same manner as Fay Godwin, the picturesque can be seen as ‘soft warm blankets of sentiment’ (course material p84) where the landscape is idealized in a chocolate box manner. These types of images repeatedly appear in calendars or on postcards and they give a prescribed idea of the location in an ‘unreal way’ (ibid). While these images are not social commentaries on the location they do not provide much insight into the location or any underlying social issues. Many of these images have been repeated incessantly over the years and in some cases, they no longer reflect the actual scene.

This can be seen in the case of the Scottish Highlands where a scene from the film ‘Skyfall’ was filmed; this quiet area is now regularly churned up by tourists wanting to replicate the scene from the film without understanding their own impact on the physical landscape. 

While the picturesque image is one to admire; I for one would like to capture such a scene, there is a personal feeling that the images are too clean, too manufactured, to distant from the actual landscape to provide a realistic link to the viewer, as an art student I feel that the picturesque image communicates an unreal and ideal image unlinked to the day to day existence of the view contained within the scene.

References

Townsend, D, 1997. The Picturesque. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Autumn, 1997), pp. 365-376.

Scaramellini, G, 1996. The picturesque and the sublime in nature and the landscape: Writing and iconography in the romantic voyaging in the Alps. Geography and Literature, Vol. 38, No. 1,, pp. 49-57.

Gilpin, W., 2005. Observations on the River Wye. Pallas Athene Arts.

The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts. 2018. 19th Century Landscape – The Pastoral, the Picturesque and the Sublime – The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts. [ONLINE] Available at: http://artmuseum.arizona.edu/events/event/19th-century-landscape-the-pastoral-the-picturesque-and-the-sublime. [Accessed 04 September 2018].

Blanton Museum of Art. 2018. American Scenery: Different Views in Hudson River School Painting – Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art. [ONLINE] Available at: http://blantonmuseum.org/exhibition/american-scenery-different-views-in-hudson-river-school-painting/. [Accessed 04 September 2018].

The Romantic Tradition in British Painting 1800-1950 – Victoria and Albert Museum. 2018. The Romantic Tradition in British Painting 1800-1950 – Victoria and Albert Museum. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/the-romantic-tradition-in-british-painting-1800-1950. [Accessed 04 September 2018]./

Art 109 Renaissance to Modern. 2018. Romantic Landscape Painting and the Sublime – Art 109 Renaissance to Modern. [ONLINE] Available at: https://art109textbook.wordpress.com/new-online-textbook-2-2/romanticism/romantic-landscape. [Accessed 04 September 2018].

Early Romantic Landscapes. 2018. Early Romantic Landscapes. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/his/CoreArt/art/romland.html. [Accessed 04 September 2018].

Tate. 2018. Art and the Sublime | Tate . [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/display/art-and-sublime. [Accessed 04 September 2018].

The Guardian. 2018. Skyfall location in Scottish Highlands blighted by litter and fly-tipping | Film | The Guardian. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/jul/18/skyfall-james-bond-location-scotland-campers-litter-fly-tipping. [Accessed 04 September 2018].

Part 2 Exercise 2.3

In this exercise, we are instructed to read Sean O’Hagan’s article on the 1975 New Topographics exhibition and watch a video of Lewis Baltz. We are then asked to write down responses to the work of any of the photographers mentioned in the O’Hagan article and thoughts on typological approaches.

O’Hagens Article

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/feb/08/new-topographics-photographs-american-landscapes

O’Hagen examines the influence of William Jenkins’ 1975 exhibition, where he considers the work exhibited to be the linchpin in a turning point in Landscape photography. Jenkins Exhibition brought together a number of photographers who knew each other and who had influenced each other but the exhibition should not be considered as a “collective”. These ‘New Topographics’ allowed photographers to shift their approach of documenting the landscape. Instead of a capturing the romanticised view of the American Landscape, this approach focused instead on the changes made by man on the environment and on how society was exploiting the landscape and the environment.

By focusing on the man-made changes and the encroaching urbanisation and suburbanisation of the land, they documented the unspoiled wilderness of the ‘new frontier’ of Adams and O’Sullivan which was now being sullied and destroyed by the construction of water towers, parking lots, fuelling stations and roadside diners and drive-throughs.

The “New Topograhics” approach of constructing a narrative and vision by placing the image within the frame and isolating it allowed the geometric shape of the structure to be viewed as a shape and to show the viewer something which they regularly see but ignore. By then repeating the same view, angle and post production it shows the rhythmic shape of the narrative, enhancing it bringing to view the things constructed by man that man then ignores.

The ‘New Topograhics” approach can be identified in works such as ‘Ed Ruschas’ “Every building on Sunset Strip”. While this work does not sit tightly with the aesthetic approach outlined by ‘Bernd and Hilla Becher’ it does present a social view of anonymity and abstraction.

Closer to the Becher’s aesthetic and mentioned in O’Hagens article are the works of Frank Gohlke, Robert Adams, Stephen Shore, Lewis Baltz, Nicholas Nixon, Andreas Gurtsky and the aforementioned Bechers. These photographers wanted to create a family of motifs, a pattern of experiences which the viewer experiences sequentially as they view a network of photographs of objects which have been divorced from their original purpose and everyday function.

Andreas Gurtsky.

Gurtsky is a student of Bernd and Hilla Becher and has cultivated the aesthetic response of the Anonymous Sculpture. Gurtsky tries to draw the viewer away from the transparent notion of representation by purposefully avoiding context and association.

Gurtsky uses a system of rigorous  procedural rules; standardised format and ratio, near identical lighting and a consistent approach to colour, which is a step away from the Becher’s restricted use of black and white photography, as does his use of a higher vantage point which creates a fantasy world, full of human creation but without the human representation.

While Gurtsky could be interpreted as cold and unfeeling, it can be seen that even within the frame he uses the technique of rhythm and repetition to present his view. ‘Rhein II’ is a prime example of this.

Frank Gohike

Gohike as a contemporary of the Bechers, worked on landscapes where man-made constructions competed with nature. He examined how this competition created a frame through which could be seen the way that man has marked the landscape with his own constructions. Grohike frames this aesthetic so that for the most part the suburban or industrial landscape stretches off into the horizon, leaving little room for nature. This scale creates an imbalance in the viewer and questions the viewer’s perceptions of the items within the frame. ‘Grain Elevator and Lightning Flash, Lamesa, Texas, 1975’ is a prime example of Grohike’s work. Here he uses the monochromatic zone approach and values,  which is characteristic of the work of Ansel Adams, to give depth to the scene, but unlike Adams, Grohike focuses on the man-made changes which have created the new landscape.

Like Gurtsky, Grohike for the most part does not represent people within the frame, instead choosing to represent the landscape as a fluid and dynamic relationship with the forces acting upon it, whether they be man-made or natural.

 

References

The Guardian. 2018. New Topographics: photographs that find beauty in the banal | Art and design | The Guardian. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/feb/08/new-topographics-photographs-american-landscapes. [Accessed 03 July 2018].

Media Art Net | Ruscha, Ed: Every Building on the Sunset Strip. 2018. Media Art Net | Ruscha, Ed: Every Building on the Sunset Strip. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/works/sunset-strip/. [Accessed 03 July 2018].

Tate. 2018. ‘The Rhine II’, Andreas Gursky, 1999 | Tate . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/gursky-the-rhine-ii-p78372. [Accessed 03 July 2018].

Andreas Gursky | home. 2018. Andreas Gursky | home. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.andreasgursky.com/en. [Accessed 03 July 2018].

Places Journal. 2018. Frank Gohlke: Thoughts on Landscape. [ONLINE] Available at: https://placesjournal.org/article/frank-gohlke-thoughts-on-landscape/. [Accessed 03 July 2018].

Photography and the Limits of the Document Symposium: video recordings | Tate. 2018. Photography and the Limits of the Document Symposium: video recordings | Tate. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/photography-and-limits-document#open240431. [Accessed 03 July 2018].

YouTube. 2018. Photographer Donovan Wylie on his Outposts series – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQekhfX73zE. [Accessed 03 July 2018].

YouTube. 2018. Photographer Donovan Wylie on the Maze series and his influences – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naoxP-iLvqU. [Accessed 03 July 2018].

Part 2 Exercise 2.2

The exercise asks that the student chooses a Road Movie and then writes 500 words on the Narrative of the Landscape within the movie.

I chose the Sam Mendes film “Road to Perdition”;

Landscape Narrative – Road Movies – Road to Perdition.

American road movies come out of traditional storytelling which can be traced back to Homer and the Iliad; the main characters of the story undertake a journey where they will have to make choices and face the consequences of decisions made. In Sam Mendes “Road to Perdition”, a father is hiding his mobster life from his family and must go on the run with his surviving son when his wife and other son are murdered because the surviving son witnesses his father and a colleague gun down some men.

Father and son undertake a physical and emotional journey, as the emotionally repressed father tries to save his son and prevent him from becoming like him. In doing so, on the journey the father opens up emotionally to the son and they finally connect.
Mendes uses a number of motifs within the film, but here we will concentrate on only two; water and the landscape. Water in the film is present as a lake, snow, rain and ice and they all represent life and death and the inability of man to change his fate. Landscape is used to represent not only the emotional state of the two main characters but also the narrative boundaries of the tale.

In the beginning, as they start the journey, the landscape is barren and flat, much like the emotional state of the characters. They pass empty fields and empty crossroads. They could deviate at any point, go away from the road and cross the fields abandoning the quest but instead they push onwards through the night into the city. The city is bright, busy and bold, the buildings surround and dominate the landscape and now the roads are filled with cars and the pavements crowded with people. It closes in on them, but at the same time, defends them as they are hard to distinguish from everyone else in such an identikit landscape, full of identical people performing identical tasks. Forced back out of the city, they start to cross the American landscape, which begins to appear like the paintings of Edward Hooper, even the characters themselves when dining look like his paintings. On the run, the two main characters come to the decision to fight back and the landscape reflects that decision by the representation of a piece of road lined on either side by trees. Here, the decision made, the other choices have been discarded and their fate set; now thoughts of abandoning the quest are discarded and the only path is forward.

The film is book ended by a body of water, the same body of water that the son is drawn to and viewing when his father’s fate catches up with him, mortally wounded by his assassin, he tries to clutch at a gun on the floor. His son hearing the shot arrives and picks up the gun but cannot shoot the ‘weegee’ like hit-man. His father understanding that he has succeeded and that his son will not follow in his path, manages to take a gun and kill the hit-man. The sunlit lake becomes the final scene, the sunlight over the water representing a positive future for the son.

The second part of the exercise asks the student to undertake a journey and document the landscape.

In this exercise, I chose to take a trip down to Cove Harbour, where in October 1881, there was a Fishing disaster where 189 fishermen perished in a severe storm.

This is my journey from the village down to the harbour, I had intended on taking these images in good weather but a sea haar still remained on the coast. Continuing with the challenging conditions under foot for me, I decided to photograph anyway in the unusual conditions as I felt that it was a good experience.

 

References.

IMDB. 2002. Road to Perdition. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0257044/. [Accessed 4 June 2018].

Assignment 1. Beauty and the Sublime. 

Interpreting the brief

The brief for this Assignment reminds you that it may feed into Assignment 6 at the end of the course. The brief here is open for some interpretation as it asks for between 6 and 12 images which convey from the photographers’ point of view, beauty and sublime.

The terms beauty and sublime have over the years had a number of definitions and the terms themselves have broadly lost their artistic values due to misuse and misinterpretation. One only has to look at the number of different uses and identities that Sublime has within the book ‘The Sublime’ to see how devalued the word has become.

I wanted to return to the ‘as near as the original’ definitions as possible for applying them to my interpretations on landscape photography

In this series of pictures, I settled on trying to capture some of the imbalance as described in Exercise 1.9. I wanted to see if I could get both sides of a social contrast within a single scene.

I wanted to capture the changes in Leith, which was a port town before being merged into the City of Edinburgh. The port of Leith was one of the industrial hearts of the city. The large ports and docks built, maintained and broke ships as well as handling cargo destined not only for the City but for locations to the north, south, east and west of the city. It was the first port of call for any immigrant to the area and provided many jobs on the docks and beyond for many residents. The area is now undergoing a large social change as buildings have been knocked down or repurposed for luxury housing, student housing, shops, malls, casinos and large-scale housing developments.

Visual Culture

Using landscape painting as a jumping off point for this assignment, I knew that I wanted to go to beyond the limitations of what I could see within the scene through the viewfinder. I felt that I could go outside the limitations of a 35mm frame by accepting that I could expand the visual canvas as the original landscape painters had done. With this in mind, I wanted at least a few of the scene to be stitched together from several images to provide a final image.

Images for Assignment 1.

Using my knowledge of the red filter for Black and White exposures, I wanted to get both the sky and the cityscape exposed properly together. After taking a light exposure reading, I set the camera to manual and chose the f-stop and the exposure speed which best suited the whole of the scene. After taking the images I then stitched the 7 exposures together in photoshop to produce the final scene.

 

Untitled_Panorama1BWredfilter

East Dock Entrance.

 

Entering the broken gates of the port, the gatehouse, longshoremen housing and storehouses are gone. Expensive housing has been built and a casino sited at a loading point. The cargo cranes are abandoned, unmaintained and rotting, providing housing for wild pigeons and gulls. Further expansion is planned as dockland is cleared awaiting the return of developers. 


 

Sitting behind an expansive mall is the Royal Yacht Britannia, it rests in a berthing area where ships would have unloaded grain. Now visitors can view the recovered land where large-scale houses rapidly rise on ground made up of broken buildings and dirt. They can view the rotting spine of a loaders platform as it dissolves into the sea and view the refueling of cable laying ships and mobile oil and gas exploration ships. 

 

Untitled_Panorama2saturboostbW

Britannia to rotting docks.

I stitched together 9 images to make this panorama. I wanted to capture the wide expanse of the area as well as the emptiness of it.  

 


 

The central point of this image is around about the 500-foot mark of the original sea wall, meaning that originally I would have been 500 feet from real dry land. When it was built it was a berthing and rest area for local shipping. During a storm the entire dock area would fill with ships seeking protection from rough seas. The lighthouse would have been the beacon that many sailors would have been happy to see on a rough day 

 

Untitled_Panorama3BwRedfilter

Lighthouse to recovered land.

 

The lighthouse now lies empty, graffiti covered, its rooms, platform and the area underneath, between the supporting columns is an area for underage drinking and drug use. Stretching off into the distance is what is left of the ports and dry docks. The large mall and parking structure sits behind the royal yacht and nearly everything to the right is reclaimed land. Developers have pushed down the buildings and are slowly turning the land over to luxury housing. Many of the houses at Platinum point are beyond the reach of many locals who cannot afford the £265,000 for a 2-bedroom apartment. 


 

 

DSC_0094

Platinum point pool.

 

Due to the worldwide collapse of markets, the development of the area has stopped while the developers build on a smaller scale in other parts of the area. This has left the planned plots to fill as lagoon sites and the plots have become a housing for wildlife. It is only a matter of time before this pond it taken back by concrete and steel and the wildlife pushed further away. In the meantime, this plot reminds the apartment owners that their houses are built on nothing more than temporary land and at some point, the sea will reclaim it. 


 

 

DSC_0108satpull

Unused plot and road.

 

As already stated the developers have built amenities and infrastructure for houses which they have not yet built. Nature is trying to claim back the land, helped in part by residents who, having left, have dumped their patio plants onto the scrubland. These plants are beginning to take root and will potentially cause more problems in the future. Until then, the area is used by dog walkers, teen bike riders, and wanderers. 


 

 

DSC_0144Bw

Behind the Gasworks.

 

The now unused gas tank dominates the skyline, it can be seen for miles. There used to be two such structures here before the first was taken down so that a small mall could be built as an amenities service for the local area. It is smaller areas like these that the developers have moved on to, throwing up student and luxury housing with the minimum of social housing within it. Until they start building the land lies unused, the skeletal remains of demolished buildings pointing out the last indications of local history.


Self-evaluation of the work

These images were not the ones that I originally planned for the assignment. I had planned on more Turneresque landscapes and it was only when I was in discussion with my Tutor prior to undertaking this Assignment that I changed direction and looked towards social politics through landscape.

I wanted to rekindle some of the social discourse that I had in my last course,  to examine what changes are happening during the gentrification of an area I knew well, along with documenting the rapid loss of local history as buildings are torn down in the rush to build houses that no one can afford.

Having decided on very wide landscapes I had to make my mind up on how I wanted to do it. I knew that I could not regiment the number of exposures needed as I would have to overlap and get in camera all of the landscape that I needed in one set.

Having no car and having to rely on a driver I had to plan the route carefully so that I would get everything I wanted in one day, otherwise, it could be two or three weeks before they were available again [and this would have up my course timetable completion into doubt].

I was pleased with the plan and although it was a difficult day I feel that I achieved what I set out to do.  While not all the landscapes stitched together I was able to fall back on some of the single images that I had taken which I felt also suited the series.

Contact Sheet.

Full contact sheet of images taken for this assignment.

Technical Choices

All of the images were taken either handheld or supported by a crutch used as an improved monopod. I decided to apply filters in post-production as I was interchanging lenses and the filters that I  have do not go up to 62mm. I chose Black and White for most of the images as I felt that they best represented the mood of the image. In a couple of the images I also boosted the saturation to see what happened with the colours but in most cases, single bright objects overtook the scene and pulled the eye away.

 

Visual Outcomes

The framings for these images are a response to the framings from paintings I have seen as part of this course. I wanted to get the scale of each scene, in such a way that at times the viewer is overpowered by the scale and may feel some vertigo as the image slips under their feet.

Over the day I made a number of images and through careful selection finally settled on the six that represent my interpretation of beauty and the sublime. In three of the images, I pushed my experimental boundaries to obtain a challenging series of images, where I have tried to define and express my emotions within the scene.

I tried to get both beauty and sublime within the same frame. Those that present my interpretation of the sublime were executed in a similar vein but I tried to continue the visual series with contrasting light and shadow.

I feel that they also have an uncertainty as they diversify from the weather conditions in which they were taken.

Reflection on assessment criteria

Overall, I am happy with this first assignment even with the personal challenges I had before, during and after the shoot. So far the coursework has guided me and encouraged me to undertake research into an area that I have not been exposed to much so far. It has given me some more creative ideas and techniques which I hope to carry on into the rest of the course.

References

Anon, 2010. The Sublime. (s.n.).

Roberts, R., 2011. Edgelands. Michael Symmons Roberts, Paul Farley. (s.n.).

 

 

 

Exercise 1.5 Transitions

My starting point for this exercise was Turners Bell Rock lighthouse. A painting that I had time to examine while once waiting for a job interview. I was very taken with the waves and the way that Turner has worked the light within the scene to create drama.

I thought about how the lighthouse looked on calm days and how that would make a comparison and a transition from one scene to another.

It is advised by the text that before undertaking this exercise to jump ahead and read the text for Assignment six as this will be the cumulative work taking in points for all along the course. As the subject for Assignment six may be influenced by my choice in this exercise I want to ensure that I choose a subject which can not only be personal to me but will stand out.

I noted a number of ideas and what the possible causes of the transitions within the scene may be, then I had the opportunity to have a chat with my tutor who was able to help clarify my choices and options.

 

  1. The Royal Mile, this street is in almost constant change as it switches between seasons and events. There are numerous transitions going on; as the locals move between the remaining artefacts’of previous events as well as the tourist churn, weather and big events like the festival and the fringe where local people are pushed into the side streets to get away from the ongoing performances in the Royal Mile itself.
  2. Tantalon Castle from across the bay., this ruined castle sits atop a cliff overlooking a tidal bay. The transitions I was thinking of are, light/dark, weather and the sky.
  3. Dunbar Bridge, there is a small concrete bridge which crosses a river, the river itself is part of a tidal bay and the ends of the bridge are submerged at high tide. The transitions I was thinking of are tide height, light/dark, weather, usage of the bridge and position of the bridge as part of the overall bay.
  4. Edinburgh East End from Calton Hill, Calton Hill overlooks the St. James development area which has recently been demolished and work is ongoing to replace it with a large hotel. Here I was thinking of the transition of the building, the workers, the cranes and all the surrounding parts of the development as the building goes up.
  5. My back garden, as a disabled student this is the easiest idea, the ongoing season changes and planting changes which would happen in the garden over the spring and summer seasons.
  6. Edinburgh and its social balance, I have been reading recently people’s reactions to a planned development in a part of Edinburgh. The development will destroy a local venue used for live music performances and replace it with student accommodation and a hotel.

After discussion with my tutor, I had decided that I would like to continue long of the lines of social politics that I started to explore during my “Context and Narrative” course. I plan to examine the divides in society in Edinburgh through a series of Landscapes. Trying to capture the transitions with in the scene of the class divisions and the protest against some of the gentrification of areas which are ongoing.