People and activity
For this assignment I am concentrating on telling moments and on “explaining” the activity. I knew where and what I wanted to photograph but I decided not to plan or give too much thought to what I might photograph. Robert Frank said, ‘the project I have in mind is one that will shape itself as it proceeds, and is essentially elastic.’ . Dorothea Lange believed that ‘to know ahead of time what you’re looking for means you’re then only photographing your own preconceptions, which is very limiting.’ 
However, this turned out to be a good day to visit the site. The multi-million pound construction project had just been halted due to a “find” by the on-site archaeology team. I had to work quickly as the contractors were keen to finish the job – it was Friday afternoon!
When the archaeologists’ dig stopped play, I focused predominately on the reaction of the construction workers. I feel I have selected the strongest images to portray the event as it unfolded.
This is my final selection for the assignment.
My first image was taken to set the scene of the construction site. Taken from a low angle and including a pop of colour.
Close up shot of a telling moment: a graduate surveyor distracted from her work.
Framed to show activity to the side of the highway – archaeologists at work.
His face is not visible but this worker’s demeanour is very telling.
A close shot of the archaeologist with his subject.
Impatience captured in camera.
Revealing “the find”.
Patience has paid off, the bones of a Roman skeleton are revealed.
I was lucky on the day in that an interesting story unfolded. I had intended to shoot the workers on the construction site and it was an added bonus to discover the presence of archaeologists. This proves the point that one should not go out on a shoot with a firm plan in mind.
At the back of my mind is always the reminder that I need to be more creative and try different angles and approaches, but when the project is around moments and capturing action as it happens, all “arty” ideas go out of the window! The day was dull and overcast and the workers’ protective clothing bright and visual, at times I lost “the moment” in attempt to adjust my camera settings quickly. I also could have improved some of my shots by re-positioning myself and/or the camera.
Visually, my tutor feedback suggested that I need to put some context around my subject. I tend to assume the viewer needs no explanation, therefore I have reworked and reordered some of the images. Unfortunately, when I returned to the site “the dig” was finished, but I was able to shoot wider views of the construction site.
The telling moments I have captured are particular reactions (body language) and expressions. Explaining the activity is hopefully obvious in that the photos speak for themselves, therefore I have included only a little narrative. My aim was to show people really engaged with the situation, I think I have succeeded with this set of photographs.
1. Dyer, G. (2012). The Ongoing Moment. Canongate, Edinburgh.
2. Frank, R. (2008). (special edition). The Americans. Steidl, Germany