Tag Archives: photography

Assignment 6 Transitions -Abandoned process.

The process I was working on regarding assignment 6 Idea not just working out.

I had been working on an initial idea of a steady locked off tripod pointing at a particular landscape and videoing what was passing in front of the lens.

The resultant video would be processed in the same manner as in my learning log post Resuming the Journey. I was working on the conceptual idea of transition is not only the light passing during the day but also the transition of place and space as the earth revolves.

The first sets of videos were finally captured and ran through the algorithm to produce the first set of timeslices which could then be put into the barcode formats. However, on examination, I am finding too much of a similarity in the images and therefore they are not showing the transition even though the lighting conditions and condition of the landscape have changed as they are different times of the year.

The three Barcodes which I have produced are shown here.

Barcode Spring

Spring Early Day

Barcode Summer

Summer Stormy Day

Barcode Autumn

Autumn Fresh Day

 

I am now examining two other locations where there are physical transitions occurring on the landscape and will then make up my mind whether they are suitable for the brief or not.

Exercise 5.7 – Prepare an Artists Statement

This exercise asks the student to spend an hour or so researching and reading artists statements. Most of the artist’s statements can either be found on their own websites or on the website of the art galleries representing the artist.

The student is then asked to write an artists statement to accompany their self-directed project which will cover the work produced for Assignment 5.

I produced the following statement to accompany my work:


 

My current work looks at landscape, lost history, accessibility and land ownership today. Through the examination of the landscape, the people using it and the threats affecting it, the work will drive conservation on how man-made change of the landscape disconnects the land from its own history and how these ongoing changes relate to accessibility for disabled people to explore.

I am interested in the work of other artists and what I can learn from them. Specifically, I am exploring the techniques and methodology they used to approach landscapes and how they portray them. As subsequently how I can apply these to my photography. My series, Doocots of East Lothian, takes as its starting point an incomplete survey undertaken in 1931, which was published posthumously in 1939 and then left unexamined until now. I am applying the new topographic principle to the subject and am producing a sequence of images within a certain container of that aesthetic.


 

 

Exercise 5.5 – Create A Slideshow

The exercise asks the student to prepare a Slideshow to present their ongoing work with Assignment 5. 

The exercise asks the student to consider a few points when creating the slideshow. 

  1. Is the Slideshow the most appropriate treatment for the work? 
  1. The length of the slideshow, how long will it run? 
  1. What relevant audio or textual material will accompany the images? 
  1. Consider the relevance of any music used? Ensure if music is used that it is available and suitable for use, and credit the artists. 

The exercise ensures the student that complex software such as Final Cut is not required and that the student should familiarise themselves with whatever software they plan to use. 

At first, I was tempted to use PowerPoint for the slideshow, but after looking at the application, I felt it did not meet my needs. I then considered Windows 10 Videomaker but found again that the software did not meet the requirements I had. In the end, I used Nero Video which I was familiar with and while it did not have all the refinements I wanted it suited the exercise. 

 Gathering more of the work together I decided to continue to use the alphabetical sequence as it fitted with the original document which started the project and guided the brief. 

After processing the images, I worked out a template for the images and the text and started to create the slideshow. I was heavily influenced by “Looking at the Land” curated by Andy Adams, which I viewed in the previous exercise. I really like the clean, clear layout and I felt it was suitable for the treatment of my work. 

Once I had the images in sequence within the application, I started to examine the look and design and tweaked the layout slightly. Then I watched the slideshow and changed the timings to allow more time for the viewer to read each image. 

After draughting and finalising a narration piece, I used Audacity and Lame to produce the narration. Slicing the narration into paragraphs which then allowed me to move them about to improve the timing and sequencing.  

Once I had changed the timing on the images to fit the narration better and again increase the amount of time for each image, which now also included a transition. I felt that there were still too many quiet moments in the slideshow, so I chose a piece of music available via creative commons, the piece was chosen because it met the requirements for a peaceful Celtic sound. 

Once again, I reviewed the slideshow adjusting the timings to suit what I wanted. Even in the final version, I am still not happy with the transitions, but it was one of the few which were not too over the top. 

The slideshow can be viewed below. 

 

Conclusion

On review, while the exercise has introduced the treatments of online exhibitions to me for my own work, I am not sure that it is the correct treatment for the Assignment. 

I feel that the presentation, being Audio/Video, does not meet the requirement of the brief, which is to make a number of accessible pieces which can be viewed and touched by individuals with visual impairments 

I will however not discount the concept of an online exhibition as it is a good way to show and display certain works. 

 

Exercise 4.5 – Signifier and Signified

The student is asked to read ‘Rhetoric o the Image’ by Roland Barthes, whose essay contains an analysis of an image through semiotic analysis: quantifying how meaning is constructed and/or how a message is communicated. 

Barthes describes the two levels of meaning as sign and myth; where the sign is comprised of a signifier and the signified. Myth is the level of meaning where the viewers own experience and knowledge is taken into account when they read the image. 

The student is then asked to find an advert and identify the signifiers and the signified using Barthes method. 

After collecting and reviewing a number of adverts I chose ‘Trails’ by Adidas. 

Trail running shoe advert by Adidas. A man in a red top runs through a forest trail.

Trails by Adidas

  

 

Sign
Signifier  Signified 
Trail,  

open forest 

Freedom, wilderness, open and fresh air, no barriers or rules.  
Runner  Individual, health, happiness, self-reliance, healthy living, the pursuit of health and happiness. Excitement. 
Mud Trail  Non-urban, create your own path 
Running shoe with deep grips  The wearer will not slip or fall. Can go anywhere. 4×4 all terrain. 

  

  

Being dyslexic and having visual difficulties meant that reading Barthes essay was almost impossible. It took a few days just to plough through the text before having to sit down and construct an understanding of what Barthes was trying to communicate. 

Exercise 4.2 – The British Landscape during World War II

The student is asked to read the short extract from ‘Landscape for everyone’ taken from ‘Dream of England: Landscape, Photography and the Tourists Imagination’ by John Taylor. The student is asked to Summarise the key points of the extract along with any other observations or reflections from the text. 

The current idea of the English Landscape really starts with C.F.G Masterman, when in the introduction to E.O. Hoppes Book ‘England’ Masterman absorbed the other nations of the United Kingdom into the single concept of one country of ‘England’. Mastermans perspective of a single historical landscape and country which could be viewed as single frames; frozen moments of time, where the countryside moved from wilderness through agricultural, cultural, religious and industrial influences to its current contemporary state. 

As the country entered into 1940, the phoney war had failed, British troops were evacuated from Dunkirk and the fear of losing the war started to loom over the country. There was a genuine fear that suburban England would be invaded and occupied.  

[The Phoney War was an eight-month period at the start of World War II, during which there was only one limited military land operation on the Western Front when French troops invaded Germany’s Saar district. The Phoney period began with the declaration of war by the United Kingdom and France against Nazi Germany on 3 September 1939 and ended with the German attack on France and the Low Countries on 10 May 1940. While there was no large-scale military action by Britain and France, they did begin economic warfare and shut down German surface raiders. They created elaborate plans for numerous large-scale operations designed to swiftly and decisively cripple the German war effort. ]

Mastermans concept of an England which had been “unconquered for a thousand years” became a central column in propaganda; The imaginary ideal of the typical ‘English’ village where the close-knit community built around the village green, the village church and the squire tied itself to the landscape and therefore into the unbeatable English spirit, which would fight back and destroy any invaders. This was built upon by C. Henry Warren in ‘England is a village’ where he wrote that ‘England’s might is still in her fields… and in the end, they will triumph’. The propaganda ideal that Nazi Germany could be defeated as long as English people worked the fields and kept the dream of England alive in their hearts, hands and eyes. an idea that Orwell touched upon in his Essay ‘The Lion and the Unicorn’, Orwell wrote the essay as he prepared to shelter from a bombing raid. He expressed his opinion that Britain needed a socialist revolution and that the working class and the middle class could come together to form a classless society and through working together defeat the wealthy upper classes of Germany who funded the war.  

In reality, as part of the propaganda drive and to render any invasion impossible, the countryside was vandalised by camouflage, blackout and the removal of signs, place names, and road signs. This made journeys difficult if not impossible to any strangers to the area. The countryside became the refuge for city dwellers, evacuated children and the military, making it both welcome and bleak at the same time. 

This instability in the idea of the countryside was mainly resolved by offering wartime readers and viewers a link to the past, a sense of victory through a feeling of continuity; distilled from Masterman and Hoppes original ideal, the love of English scenery and beautiful England which became the foundation for the principles of victory.  Rather than show pictures of evacuated working-class children looking lost and forlorn in their new location, it was turned around so that it became a chance for the children to discover the beauty of the landscape for the first time. The upheaval and societal change were accommodated through the showing of images that reminded the viewer what they were protecting by fighting the war.  

Taylor points out that through the management of images and stories in the magazine ‘Picture Post’ the Ministry of Information worked hand in hand with the publishers to promote the ideology that the landscape of England was for everyone and worth defending. The landscape which in real terms was closed off to people was presented in layouts comparing the differences between the English way of life and that of life in fascist Germany. These articles were laid out as simply as possible to show everything that the British people were fighting to protect, the peaceful village life and individual freedom versus the military regime, persecution and loss of freedom and identity in the war machine. These presentations showed that every class had something to lose and therefore by forgetting class differences and working together to protect the English landscape they would be victorious.  

Throughout the extract, Taylor refers to the homogenous idea of England, which is interchangeable with Britain, a unified national heritage which really started in the 17th century with Francophile propaganda. The English heritage a prize which sets the British apart from everyone else, it is now part of the populist and underdog culture, caring for what is unique in their heritage, what is special to them, which is unknowable and untenable by outsiders. 

I am not sure I am comfortable with the idea of the British part being monolithic and uniform, it is too close to the Norman Tebbit cricket test where consensus is not only demanded and forced, it is taken for granted. It is too much of a central bias, which pretty much ignores any outlying country, state or region, a normative idea of a nationial being only English.  

References

Taylor. J (1994) A Dream of England: Landscape, Photography and the Tourists Imagination, United Kingdom: Manchester University Press.

Orwell. G (1976) The Lion and the Unicorn, : Ams Pr Inc..

Mischi, Julian. (2009). Englishness and the Countryside How British Rural Studies Address the Issue of National Identity.

 

 

Exercise 4.1 – Critical Review Proposal

I have sent the following as part of an email to my tutor.

My idea for Assignment 4 Critical Review which I would like to propose for consideration; the subject will be The Memory of Photography, probably based around the background landscapes from a box full of family holiday polaroids that I was recently given.

The main part of the project is to examine the photographs and see what memories of the landscape arise from these polaroid photographs.

 

Assignment 3 – Spaces to Places.

Brief

In Assignment 3, we are asked to explore a landscape or small part of a landscape to which there is some form of significance. The main objective of the assignments is to question how a “place” becomes as “space” and show how the idea of a place is formed by external pressures or associations. 

Recently I have been involved in a number of discussions regarding the history of the UK and history within Scotland in general. These discussions have been driven by a number of news items where developers or businesses have started to bury and destroy historic areas of interest.  

In the majority of these cases, this reflects what has already happened in parts of East Lothian and the Borders where history has been destroyed in favour of development of the land. 

In this case, I wanted to focus on the missing history of Haddington. Recently Haddington celebrated 700 years – a celebration around the signing of a town charter by Robert the Bruce. When I started to look into the historical landscape of Haddington, what I started to find were a number of bare patches. 

I decided to research and photograph the historical landscape around the siege of Haddington.  

Research 

What I quickly found was that most of 16th Century Haddington was covered over and redeveloped in the 18th Century by the Victorians as they remade Haddington into a Market town and rural holiday spot, leaving very little of any historical value behind. 

What remains of the siege walls, earthworks and boundaries of the town within have either disappeared completely or were reinterpreted by the Victorians as part history, part, folly, part garden structure. 

During the 16th century siege of Haddington, the town was surrounded and walled in for the duration of the siege. The English army held Haddington through the siege for 18 months. 

Process 

During the siege, hundreds were killed, but little is seen of the town as it was then. Having been recreated in the market town image of the 18th century, 16th Century Haddington appears to have been wiped clean from the map. Little is said about the siege, the brave soldiers on either side nor what happened to the town during the siege. 

Having found the map in the book ‘Feat of Arms’ (Unwin, G. 2014), I overlaid and then marked out a rough rectangle within which the siege walls and boundaries lay. My idea is to work within the rectangle and using both google maps and physical survey work out where this large piece of history disappeared to. 

Overlaid map showing location of siege walls and earthworks over newer google map

Google map showing square around town centre

Certainly, as can be seen from the google map diagram the current town still lies within the main traffic routes, the north gates and the west gates are easy to locate within the structure of the town. Looking deeper I could find little on display to show what still existed. 

For the most part, what remains of 16th Century Haddington are place or street names; The Butts, Langriggs, Sidegate, Hardgate, Mill Wynd. 

However, due to the Victorian penchant for repurposing, small parts of the original town and walls can still be seen, if not in the same shape or location, but in style. 

One of the few untouched areas is to the East of Haddington, where at one-point cannons had been dug into a mound, to allow the cannons to reach within the confines of the besieged area. This one important archaeological artefact remains relatively unexamined and left to nature. It was only by accident that it was rediscovered as part of this article. 

Using google maps I reviewed a number of areas within Haddington that I wanted to visit and possibly photograph; this method of survey was quite helpful to me as it allowed me to manage my chronic pain and fatigue on the days when I was at these locations, moving about and capturing images of what I could see. 

There was a delay between the online survey, the physical visit and actual photographing of the locations due to a number of issues. First of all was my own health, due to the cold weather, I was stuck inside as being out in the cold brought on my Costochondritis which makes breathing very difficult. Secondly, since I can no longer drive, I had to rely on the kindness of others when I wanted to go visit some of the locations to review them. Thirdly, my main source of transport is my wife, who having injured herself, could not walk or drive for almost six weeks. Again, I was stuck in the house unable to get to the locations. 

During this time, I started to look over the work of other artists who suffer from failing eyesight or visual impairment. The RNIB website was in itself very helpful and pointed me to a number of projects, one of which is a collection of portraits by Roy Nachum. Together with the work of Chris Friel in the collections, Silver and October, I started to review and reassess what I have been doing. 

Using the ideas of Text in the style of Ed Ruscha, but combining it with the influences from Nachum and Friel, I decided to restart the assignment and return to the exploration of my visual impairment, my continuing loss of vision, the loss of mobility and at the same time the loss of history due to progress and lack of foresight. 

Returning to the original reports and letters written during the siege, I hit upon the idea of taking direct quotes from the reports from (Lawson, John. P. 1893) and the Hamilton Papers (Bain, E. 1890) and overlaying them into the landscape images. I then went further by converting the quoted text into braille.  

Taking the converted text, I positioned it into the landscape in such a way as to interrupt the flow of the image, in the same manner, that my eye condition interrupts my day to day vision. By using braille, I further push the viewer into the uncomfortable position of not knowing what is being said.  

Images 

Rebuilt Walls Marys tower

Victorian recreation of siege wall and tower. Quote taken from historical figure shown in BrailleHere at the Eastern edge of what would have been one of the boundary walls, now stands a tower and two sides of a wall enclosing a small garden. The tower and walls were recreated by the Victorians to emulate the history of the town. 

Vennel, formerly a close. 

Orange walls of a close. Quote taken from historical figure shown in BrailleThere are very few locations within Haddington where you can still get the idea of how close together the houses were built and what both the soldiers and visiting queen would have seen. Within the confines of the besieges town, there was starvation, squalor, and disease. 

Langriggs, Current lay of the land

New housing but with fridge and cooker abandoned in the street. Quote taken from historical figure shown in BrailleDown at this end of the town, people would have gathered their livestock together for safety within one of the longer inside dividing walls. Although pieces of stone from the 16th and 17th Century are embedded in the wall, history is still regarded as passé. 

Cannon Mound, They planted a great many guns. 

Farmed field with mound of earth. Mound was cannon platfrom. Quote taken from historical figure shown in BrailleUndeclared at the edge of a working field, sits one of the few remaining cannon platforms. Last archaeologically investigated in the 1980s, it now rests disregarded and unknown. 

West gate, now part of court street (18th-century development)

Modern Haddington West crossroad. Quote taken from historical figure shown in BrailleWhere the West Gate would have sat, many battles were fought over this opening and where Highlanders ducked the cannon fire.  Now a major junction into the main street of the remodelled market town. 

Nungate bridge leading to now derelict Abbey 

Nungate bridge over the river Tyne. Purple flowers in the foreground. Quote taken from historical figure shown in BrailleThe crossing which took troops and royalty back and forth to the south. The Abbey was a designated neutral ground where a meeting between the sides could take place. 

St Marys, battle-scarred but still standing. 

Foreground graveyard. Behind the trees is St Marys Church, all under a blue sky. Quote taken from historical figure shown in BrailleSited outside the walls, the battles and siege did not pass this church by. While it was also a neutral space, It bears the scars of musket fire on its stone.  

Original wall, an inner boundary 

Bailey wall, now separating houses from a green space. Quote taken from historical figure shown in BrailleAn inner bailey wall, now separating parts of sheltered housing.  

Tesco Car Park 

Empty Tesco carpark. Quote taken from historical figure shown in BrailleWhere the main part of the besieged town once sat, now resting beneath the tarmac of a Tesco carpark. Nowadays, food is more plentiful and accessible. 

Doocot, Source of food and communication. 

Jacobean dovecot. Boarded up and abandoned. Quote taken from historical figure shown in BrailleDoves and pigeons were a good source of protein, a Jacobean doocot like this would have kept a well-off family fed through the winter months of the siege. Now sealed and unattended, left for decoration and a nod to history. 

Contact Sheet 

Full set of images taken for the Assignment. Including the original braille conversion files and screenshots showing the text to Braille conversion.  

 

 

Contact Sheet for Braille Conversions.

 

Contact Sheet of Screenshots of the Text to Braille Conversion

 

Technical Choices. 

As in Assignment 1, the images were taken either handheld or supported by a crutch used as an improvised monopod. I decided to apply filters in post-production, I chose Black and White versions of the images and used them as a layer to either show highlights or shadows where possible, without making the final scene too dark or overblown.   

Conclusion. 

In the beginning I flipped between several ideas and projects, each one had its merits but in the end, the assignment was led by the research. The research itself was very enjoyable as it allowed me to dip into my fascination with local history and start discussions on why so little of it is being preserved in the county.  

Hitting on Friel and Nachum was a bit of a game changer for me; it returned me to the exploration of my condition and how it influences what I see and how I see it. The final iteration of this assignment for submission will be printed where the braille dots are raised to allow participation by a visually impaired individual as they will be able to touch the display card and get the image description and relevant information before touching the image and feeling the quote. 

References 

artNet (2017) Ed Ruscha , Available at: http://www.artnet.com/artists/ed-ruscha/ (Accessed: 19th March 2019). 

Arts Council England (2019) Disability Arts Online, Available at: http://disabilityarts.online/ (Accessed: 15th March 2019). 
 
Bain, J. (1890) The Hamilton papers. Letters and papers illustrating the political relations of England and Scotland in the XVIth century. The Hamilton papers. Letters and papers illustrating the political relations of England and Scotland in the XVIth century [Online]. Available at: https://archive.org/details/cu31924091786032/page/n6 (Accessed: 18th March 2019). 
 
Campsie, A (2018) Public inquiry called for Battle of Killiecrankie road plan Read more at: https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/public-inquiry-called-for-battle-of-killiecrankie-road-plan-1-4736078, Available at: https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/public-inquiry-called-for-battle-of-killiecrankie-road-plan-1-4736078 (Accessed: 17th March 2019). 

Campsie, A. (2019) Row as businessman ‘builds fence across Antonine Wall’ Read more at: https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/row-as-businessman-builds-fence-across-antonine-wall-1-4867670, Available at: https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/row-as-businessman-builds-fence-across-antonine-wall-1-4867670 (Accessed: 17th March 2019). 
DPS (2019) Disabled Photographers Society, Available at: https://www.the-dps.co.uk/ (Accessed: 18th March 2019). 

East Lothian Council (2019) Haddington 700, Available at: https://www.johngraycentre.org/haddington700/ (Accessed: 15th March 2019). 
Friel,C. (2019) Index/Gallery, Available at: https://www.cfriel.com/index (Accessed: 17th March 2019). 

Magdalena Szubielska (2018) People with sight impairment in the world of visual arts: does it make any sense?, Disability & Society, 33:9, 1533-1538, DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2018.1480261 

McKenna, K (2018) Second battle of Culloden rages as locals clash with developers, Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/30/culloden-moor-battle-luxury-homes (Accessed: 17th March 2019). 
 
Parker Lawson,J. (2017) Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland, Available at: https://www.electricscotland.com/history/wars/33siegeofhaddington1548.pdf (Accessed: 18th March 2019). 
 
RNIB (2017) Blind artist launches ‘ genuinely audio-visual art’ exhibit in aid of Talking Books, Available at: https://www.rnib.org.uk/blind-artist-launches-genuinely-audio-visual-art-exhibit-aid-talking-books (Accessed: 19th March 2019). 
 
Spikerog SAS (2019) Braille Translator , Available at: https://www.brailletranslator.org/ (Accessed: 20th March 2019). 
TATE (2017) Landscape, Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/node/294527_ (Accessed: 15th March 2019). 
 
Tudor Chronicles (2015) Siege of Haddington, Available at: https://thetudorchronicles.wordpress.com/tag/siege-of-haddington/ (Accessed: 15th March 2019). 
 
Unwin, G. (2014) Feat of Arms – The Siege of Haddington, 1st edn., United Kingdom: Creative Independent Publishing. 
 
Voyatzis,C. (2012) Visual Art for the Visually Impaired by Roy Nachum, Available at: https://www.yatzer.com/visual-art-visually-impaired-roy-nachum (Accessed: 17th March 2019).