What is my assignment about?
This assignment is about the accessibility to the public of the E.ON Power station in Sheffield. It is my response to a personal desire to see it up close and to an image sourced on the internet that showed the site as a public green space. I wanted to explore just how accessible my subject was and to show the reality of its position within the city and its relationship with the community in terms of its proximity to the public.
First, I captured it as remote – at this distance, it seems almost as if you could just take a long walk and arrive on the doorstep. From a distance it is part of a wider natural and industrial landscape, accessible, but remote from the general public. I include three images from this perspective.
The following four images are intended to show a much closer relationship with the public. I did not want to present the power station as ‘incidental’ as Davies does in his images of Mount Fuji, but rather as a significant part of the everyday landscape. I have deliberately emphasised the colour of the orange part of the building to ensure that it has priority place, despite its varying physical size in my pictures.
My final three images are perhaps the most interesting to me. In direct contrast to the internet image that fuelled the idea for this project, what I saw as I got closer to the buildings, were barriers – fences, walls, barbed wire.
I frequently drive past this site and have admired it for some time. I have driven as close as I can, and considered how I might go about actually getting consent to look around inside. My initial inspiration to use this as a subject for my assignment was my personal interest in this site because of my perception of the buildings as quite beautiful.
I took an image of the power station for my work on exercise 1.3 – line:
My tutor commented that this image reminded him of the industrial images of John Davies. This was my second inspiration and it motivated me to develop a project from an image that could be considered an homage to Davies’ work.
For exercise 4.5: creativity, I found the idea of responding to an internet search very interesting. This assignment was therefore also inspired by a search for images about the power station.
I was hesitant in my decision to exaggerate the orange colour of the building since I felt it might be very amateurish. However, I thought more and more about colour after looking at how Rinko Kawauchi used colour and the absence of colour in her work and this gave me the confidence to enhance this already bright part of my images. In terms of ‘information’, my images are very different to her illuminance image – I have used deep depth of field, and regular exposure to provide as much information as I can in my image. However, she made me think about colour in general, and from that, I thought about enhancing just a single part of my image to add additional information.
I tried to use a consistent focal length, mostly 16mm (cropped), to ensure a sense of depth. This was not possible for my furthest distance shots since the wide angle would have rendered my subject too small in the image. I have not used a focal length above 50mm, and this in only two of my images.
I made two silly mistakes. First, I forgot to re-set my camera to capture raw after a previous shoot. My images have had only slight edits in photoshop but I would have preferred to start with a raw image rather than a jpeg.
Second, I also forgot to re-set the ISO and consequently my shoot was made at 500. I used aperture priority to ensure the depth of field that I wanted. It was a bright day and the shutter was fast enough even for the images taken from the viaduct where camera movement due to heavy traffic could have been a concern. However, I am pleased with my camera’s performance at higher ISOs and, in hindsight, feel that any effect of my mistake is minimal. However, lessons learned.
Quality of outcome
I found the selection and presentation of 10 images as a cohesive set quite problematic. I found that I wished it had been 9, or 6, to enable me to present my three-stage progression more uniformly. However, I chose to identify the results of my exploration into the accessibility of my subject by the public as falling into three categories:
‘Remote’ (3 images), ‘Public’ (4 images), and ‘Barriers’ (3 images). I chose not to use captions or text since I didn’t want to interrupt the intended ‘flow’ or sense of movement from distance to close up, and I hoped that my intention was clear without text.
Link to exercise 5.2
Please also see my posts –
Assignment 5 – initial thoughts
Assignment 5 – contact sheets
Assignment 5 – images
Assignment 5 self-assessment