I am to plan and execute a set of approximately ten final, selected images, of people in some form of meaningful 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.’ 
I chose to photograph construction workers on a major highway improvement project. This was 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.
Final selection for assignment
A graduate surveyor looks on with interest.
Under instruction to mark out the boundaries quickly.
A pose that speaks volumes, none to happy about work being stopped in its tracks. The driver also has his head down, dispirited.
Workers told to “down tools”.
I’ve included this image because it shows what is happening to the side of the highway, the archaeologists at work.
A close up, the archaeologist works slowly and carefully.
His efforts are rewarded. Bones of a Roman skeleton are revealed.
Careful transfer of a soil sample taken from around the Roman remains.
Meanwhile, the construction workers look on, but is it with interest, indifference or impatience?
Smiling once more – back to work lads!
My assessment of assignment two.
I was lucky on the day in that a natural story was formed. 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 my “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. The other technical aspect I need to consider is my inclination not to show the context and assume the viewer needs no explanation.
The telling moments I have captured are particular reactions and expressions. Explaining activity is hopefully obvious in that the photos speak for themselves, therefore I have included only a little narrative by way of loose, lighthearted comments. My aim was to show people really engaging with something and 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