Gulls In Flight

Redcar Windfarm – Exercise 3.9 – A Significant Place

Brief:- Think of a place that holds meaning for you. Note down the reasons why it matters. (For reasons of practicality, choose somewhere accessible – see Exercise 3.10.) Think about how you could photograph that place in a way and in a light that reflects its meaning to you. Is there a particular viewpoint in your mind’s eye? A particular time of day? Make a photograph exactly as you have pre-visualised it and try to convey its special meaning to you in the photograph. Does the photo reflect your memory at all? Do the colours seem right? If not, change them – and anything else that would help the photo resonate more powerfully.

Redcar - A Significant Place

This is my favourite photo and the one that captures best the spirit of Redcar and its on-shore wind farm. It is quite small when viewed in the post but much better when viewed on full screen.

Redcar is a place that I feel safe, connected and alive. I find the wind farm to be so beautiful, pleasing and reassuring. I can’t explain why I find it so, I just do.

I didn’t take this photo as a planned photo as suggested in the brief, although I have been back several times and taken many photos for this exercise. It’s a long beach that covers over 8 miles from Marske by the Sea to Teesmouth, and I wanted to explore the visual impact along the stretch of coast. I also visited Seaton Carew, which is the other side of the Tees, and made some photos from that perspective.

The process has been very enjoyable for me. To re-visit a place that I feel so connected to is a pleasure. Evaluating all of the images and selecting a final three hasn’t been easy. I could have chosen over 20 that reflect how I would want to show this beautiful place.

The reasons that this photo resonates with me are the contrast between the foreground and the sky, slightly under exposed, creates a peaceful but warming feeling. Winter can also be a time of mixed emotions for me, a time in which I can feel both subdued and energised.

Seeing this photo full size means that there is a visual tension between the town and the wind farm, which isn’t apparent when viewed directly on the blog post. The leading line draws the eye up to the town and then my eye moves to the turbines and blades. I have thoroughly enjoyed the making of this exercise. See you soon Redcar.

Here are the final three.

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Bye Bye Carbon? – Exercise 3.6 – Mixing Genre

Brief:- In this exercise you’ll make four photographs that mix genres together. Choose a subject you’d like to photograph. It can be anything at all, a place, a person, an object or a story. Landscape – Now decide on how you can enhance your subject’s meaning by joining it together with a place – a landscape. Make a photograph of your subject in or associated with a landscape or place of your choice. But choose wisely; there needs to be a ‘resonance’ between the subject and the place. For example, you could place a friend outside the house where he or she was born. You may not think it’s possible to combine landscape with other landscapes, but have a look at Beate Gütschow’s work and you’ll see it can be done (www. beateguetschow.net). You can also place images side-by-side to be read as a single piece or make one picture out of several pictures. You may even be able to mix all four genres in one picture. Portrait – Make a photograph of your subject in combination with a portrait – the presence of a person. If your subject is a person, then you could add a second person, like a relative. Still life – Make a photograph of your subject in conjunction with an object or collection of objects. You could place an object in a landscape for example, as in Penny Watson’s photograph.  Story or event –
Make a photograph of your subject involved in a story or event. This could involve creating a narrative situation or a sequence of photographs that represent an event happening in time.When you’ve finished the four photographs arrange them together as a series, either in a computer program or as prints on a wall. When you view pictures repeatedly over time, they ‘work on you’ and you begin to notice things that don’t work and other things you’d like to improve. It’s a good way of learning from your own photographs.

A couple of months ago when I was visiting Redcar, I walked up the dunes and saw 50 – 100 christmas trees which had been planted into the sand. Dead christmas trees. Trees that are no longer drawing in carbon dioxide and giving out oxygen. Instead, they have been uprooted by human kind, to be used for our pleasure for 12 – 30 days, so that they can then be re-planted into an area that they will never grow in.

You can probably tell that this sparked a photographic fire within me. I couldn’t help but be drawn to the wind farm juxtaposed with these trees. How many times must we find to destroy the planet, then find ways to correct out destruction, just to create more destruction and need newer inventions to counter our further interventions, and ad infinitum.

Watching current affairs also highlights climate change deniers, and those “leaders” and carbon heavy industries who are desperate to cling hold of fossil fuels rather than say goodbye to them and make use of renewables.

I have included both two and three genres to create a narrative within the one image; still life and landscape or still life, landscape and portrait.

bye bye carbon

bye bye carbon

bye bye carbon

Reflections

The narrative is promising here and I’m pleased with how combining different genres I have been able to create a narrative within a single image. I think many photos naturally make use of more than one genre, not all, but a fair few. However the process of deliberately trying to make use of different genres places an emphasis upon deeper consideration of what it is that I want to convey. Slowing the process down is always good for somebody with my make up, who tends to run with an idea without considering alternatives or depth. It’s when I slow down that my better work is produced, it has become a deliberate ploy since beginning Foundations in Photography.

The developing of the second image has not worked for me, the white balance is wrong and has too much warmth, and the yellowish tint doesn’t look right, although its composition is strong, maybe even the strongest of the three, simple but bold.

The first image needs the top cropping slightly, I like the composition, and I like how the red of the rose draws my eye into the cross.

Ok, the third image. This has the potential to be a strong photo, with the model offering the flowers to the trees, almost as if he is pleading to retain the use of carbon based energy, not wanting to let go and allow it to die in peace. But it needs to be re-photographed. I need to go back to Redcar and take this photo in the morning so that the mans shadow does not lean into the trees. I find it off-putting. maybe the toy cars could go from this photo as well, or be re-positioned as they detract from the composition in my opinion.

Hand on heart I am not always great at following the brief. I had read the brief in advance, a month or so, but I did not re-read prior to going out and shooting. At some point I am going to have to get on top of this. Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased with how my intuition and mind work together with some of my ideas, and this one particularly, and they have lent towards the brief in this instance. However, there will be times, either in higher education or with commissioned pieces where following the brief will be essential. With the times that I have deliberately chosen to go against the brief, and this has generally been once I have followed it for the first go but have wanted to explore, then that’s fine, thats personal development. However, I have said it before and will say it again until it sinks in, follow the brief.

A Time Of Mixed Motivation

Today has been a very positive and engaging day for me. The project that I am planning for exercise 3.2 – Typology using street art and grafitti is developing. As well as producing the photomontage, I intend to create an HD video, and have specific music that I would like to accompany the photos. Great music that requires me to seek license consent. The emails have been sent, and it has not been easy to find contact details for the record labels, but I have got there in the end.

Exercise 3.9 – A familiar place. Having originally said that I don’t have a significant place, reflection has helped me to realise that I have a few. The industrial North East of England, where I like to explore traditional heavy industrial architecture (Blade runner esk and very familiar to Port Talbot), and then of course there is Redcar. I love Redcar. Yay to the paradox of traditional green-house gas producing industry alongside the wind-farm that I love and adore.

Although I have been out with my camera, exploring and having fun, the weather is putting me off from visiting Durham or possible Leeds/Bradford  for exercise 3.1 – Searching. Thats the small lack of motivation.

Sociology is important to me, and I feel strongly about gun crime and culture. I wrote a short essay called Gun Control Versus Mental Health which has been published by The Sociological Mail and can be seen here (thank you Shaneka). This essay has not been a photographic like my others, however it is important for my development and creativity. Photography, research and writing are all important to me.

My goal for tomorrow:- to create the background for my photomontage in Photoshop, create the 3D style writing that I will lay the images over, and begin to arrange the photography. The final piece will be 240cm by 135cm, and this will mean research into using a large enough scratch disk for Photoshop to be able to save the PSD’s as I go along.

Time for a nap.

Redcar – Wind Farm

oznorThis may sound a bit weird, but this is one of my favourite views. The wind-farm is situated in between Redcar and Teesport (the mouth of  the river Tees), with Hartlepool visible upon the horizon. I like the structure of the windfarm, the uniformity, renewable energy, and on a day like today the sea and sky are beautiful.