My tutor, in his ‘Hangout’ feedback on part 4 of the course suggested that I should document more of my thoughts leading up to my assignment work proper, since I had told him that I thought about my ideas ‘all the time’.
I gave a lot of thought to the subject that I would choose for this assignment. In fact my thoughts about it began very early on in the course. On first reading the course literature, almost a year ago now, and with a particular interest in Emley Moor Transmitting Station, I was looking forward to exploring this subject further by using it for this assignment. I felt that the ‘mast’ would provide ample opportunity for me to photograph it in ten different ways. However, exercise 4.5, which asked students to make a screen grab of images of a particular subject and then create alternative images of it, was the ideal opportunity for me to photograph Emley Moor. Please see my exercise 4.5 on Emley Moor Transmitting station.
Following this initial idea, my thoughts, as I worked through part five, were quite random. On looking at homage photography, I felt that I would like to try to do some work inspired by Sugimoto’s seascapes, taking sea/land horizon images at different times of day and perhaps enhancing the colours in Photoshop to produce Rothko inspired images. But 10 different images, and a ‘clear sense of development’? I wasn’t so sure. I rejected this idea, but on a recent trip to Filey, I did experiment with some seascapes, and cloudscapes, and these are the subjects of separate posts: Reflection – seascapes and Reflection – cloudscapes.
My work on homage and my homage to Walker Evans for exercise 5.2 made me think that I could use bridges as my subject for the assignment. I felt that ten Images may be possible, each bringing something new. I had some success on my ‘homage shoot’ with capturing bridges from very different angles and felt that I may be able to expand on this to include an examination of their function, use by the community, and their design. But as for a clear progression, I needed to think more about that and plan the shoot carefully. I rejected this idea and shelved it for future consideration.
On taking my homage picture I noticed a lot of graffiti on the bridges that I photographed and I considered graffiti art as a possible subject, or perhaps any kind of ‘writing on the wall’. I began to notice how our landscape and buildings are becoming ugly because of man-made signs, advertising, notices, ‘writing on walls’, and I realised that, contrary to general public objection to graffiti, it is actually often quite beautiful, and certainly provides a much better view that the hap-hazard displays of commercial advertising. So, this was a possible subject for my assignment but again, I needed to consider further how I could express my intention in terms of a cohesive theme. I wondered if I could juxtapose images of particularly lovely graffiti with examples of other, particularly ugly ‘writings on walls’. I did some internet research around the subject of graffiti art and felt that although I would not pursue it as a subject for this submission, I would hopefully return to it at a later date.
My thoughts fell again to industrial buildings. I had had favourable feedback from my tutor in part 1 of the course when I took some images of the E.ON Power Station in Sheffield, for exercise 1.3 . My tutor commented that one particular image reminded him of the work of John Davies who used a high viewpoint to capture his image Fuji City (2008). Davies’s photograph shows Mount Fuji as incidental to the vast industrial landscape of the city.
I have had an interest in the E.ON power station buildings for some time and have photographed them before (not for this course). I was pleased to have the opportunity to revisit the site as my subject for assignment 5. With John Davies in mind, I considered an ‘homage to John Davies’ as a starting point from which to then present ten images of the power station as a coherent set.
I considered relying on viewpoint and capturing images at progressively closer distance to show its relationship to the community. I searched for an image on the internet and found this:
This is an artist’s impression of what the plant would look like when it was built. I was quite amazed to see it represented as so public a space – I have never seen this footpath or believed it was possible to get so close. This image seems to suggest that the site contains very accessible green leisure space.
My assignment submission started to take shape and I decided to explore just how accessible this power plant is to the public. There was considerable objection in Sheffield to the demolition of the old ‘twin towers’ and their replacement with this power station, with its bright orange towers, but I think these buildings are beautiful and I very much appreciated the opportunity of a closer look.
List of illustrations
1: Ellis, V. (2017). Energy Live News – Energy Made Easy – Sheffield’s future biomass plant in pictures. [online] Energylivenews.com. Available at: http://www.energylivenews.com/2011/11/15/sheffields-future-biomass-plant-in-pictures/ (Accessed 12 April 2017)