This assignment is about performing to order, for a contracted purpose in order to deliver results that a client has asked for. The client may be an individual who needs specific images, or anyone who is paying for an imaging service. Apart from the commercial aspect of this, a well-defined assignment actually benefits the photography because it directs the creative effort. This is what I am exploring here.
I can choose my own subject, the only proviso is that it must be from this course – people and/ or the places they inhabit. I have chosen the following –
- The kind of client: A National Park Authority.
- The purpose of the assignment: Informational and promotional.
- How the images will be used: As part of a Public Consultation exhibition to promote the need for a bypass of a historical market town.
Firstly I visited the town, a pretty dales tourist attraction with a thriving local community. The town, Hawes, has a major issue with traffic congestion due to its village-like narrow cobbled streets and the fact that it is the only route from the M6 motorway to the picturesque Dales National Park. I know this small town quite well and so set about taking general photographs. I then did some research online and at the town’s Information Centre.
I also spoke to several local residents, business people and a couple of visitors to capture their views and get a feel for any concerns they had about the busy traffic situation. Listed here are some of the key comments and concerns.
- I would like a pedestrian crossing on the main street.
- Bus stops need to be set back from the road (in a lay-by) for safety.
- Illegal on-street parking means nowhere for goods vehicles to unload.
- Some people are parking their vehicles straddling both the road and pavement, forcing pedestrians into the road.
- There needs to be a ban on HGVs travelling through Hawes on market days.
- More footpaths or “traffic-free zones” (particularly Market Place and cobbled area).
- Lots of pollution and noise from HGVs and farm vehicles.
- Road safety risks – especially for children, the elderly and disabled.
Before writing the brief, I did some research into other public consultation exhibitions and found the presentations boards to be either technical – use of diagrams, “in-house” language etc.
or sketches, interesting and arty, but lacking in detail.
Then there are the very wordy boards
or rather amateur-style, badly presented photographic boards!
My professional photographs had to document the situation clearly and factually. Armed with all my information I then wrote my brief.
Hawes is a thriving, picturesque market town of historical interest, with the added attraction of two museums and its own waterfall in the village centre. On market days and busy summer weekends, Hawes narrow streets can get seriously clogged with traffic. Conflict with traffic in various forms is common throughout the town – commuter traffic, tourist traffic, heavy goods vehicles, farmers auction traffic, local community and business traffic. This is now threatening the rural character of the town. The protection of the unique character of this Dales market town can best be achieved by the provision of a bypass. To gauge support and objections for a bypass, the Dales National Park Authority (NPA) propose to hold a public consultation exhibition in early March 2016.
To produce 10 full colour quality photographs for consideration by the NPA for use on exhibition boards as part of the public consultation exercise. The images should show the existing situation in the town, specifically the following;
- Historical village setting
- Narrow streets and pavements
- Heavy goods vehicle usage
- Market day congestion
- Farmers Auction Mart traffic
- Conflict between pedestrians and vehicles
- Safety issues
- Traffic impact on the environment
The deadline for photographic submissions is January 15th 2016.
Once I had the brief, I revisited Hawes several more times, though the wet weather hampered my progress somewhat. I carried out my shoots on busy market days and at half-term thus capturing the congestion at its most intense. Throughout the shooting in Hawes I constantly checked back to the client brief – I didn’t refer to it as “my brief” because I may have been tempted to adapt it to fit my images! Here is a selection of my draft images.
Now to select my dozen images. I referred back to the client brief several times as I was conscious of complying with the client requirements.
This image highlights several of the key concerns – congestion, a vehicle mounting the narrow footpath and the safety of pedestrians. I was a little concerned that the viewer would be distracted by the blanking out the vehicle registration plate, but felt for privacy reasons this was necessary .
This image uses scale and composition to produce a dramatic image showing how easily this quaint cobbled street setting is overpowered by heavy goods vehicles.
By using a low camera angle I have captured the vulnerability and high risk to public safety as a result of HGV movements through the town.
The signage in the top left of this shot indicates “one way” and yet the traffic appears to be contradicting this. The three lanes of vehicles face towards an oncoming car in a confrontational manner. I was keen to include the woman walking in the road as I felt her manner suggested that she is resigned to the chaotic conditions.
This shot clearly demonstrates traffic congestion and its potential polluting effect on the town. I wanted to portray an unwelcoming, static image with cold, grey overtones.
Here we see the juxtaposition of shoppers and visitors against the close proximity of the van and the overwhelming presence of the livestock transporter on its way to the farmers auction mart.
With no lay-by for the bus to pull in to, this image captures members of the public forced to venture into the road to board the bus.
A risky, low angle, close-up shot of the farmers auction mart vehicles rumbling through the picturesque, cobbled street while pedestrians walk cautiously along in single file.
Panning with my camera creates movement and the impression of speeding vehicles at this busy junction. There are protective railings in place but no marked crossing point for pedestrians.
I took this shot late in the day to capture pedestrians taking their chances to cross the high street as commuters queued to squeeze through the town’s narrow arteries.
I seized the moment to capture this couple in camera, subservient to the motor car, having to dodge clear of the vehicle as it mounted the pavement.
This image displays tension and impatience as the public jostle for space to move freely. Even the ancient cobbles are giving up to the strain of vehicles.