Two sides of the story
This assignment is designed to give your tutor a feel for your work and won’t count towards your final grade if you decide to have your work assessed. However, the assessors may wish to see it so that they can gauge your progress across the course.
Create at least two sets of photographs telling different versions of the same story. The aim of the assignment is to help you explore the convincing nature of documentary, even though what the viewer thinks they see may not in fact be true. Try to make both sets equally convincing so that it’s impossible to tell which version of the images is ‘true’.
Choose a theme and aim for 5–7 images for each set, depending on your idea. However you choose to interpret the brief, ensure the images are candid and ‘taken from real life’. Be experimental and take some risks. Include an introduction of 300 words outlining what you set out to do and how you went about it.
Having completed Part one and working through all the projects and exercises, my head was buzzing with ideas for this assignment. However I realise that I have to work within my current capabilities, taking risks is good, but this is the first assignment and I want to develop my skills throughout the course module. Some thoughts and ideas:
The Cumbria floods – before and after. Showing the becks and rivers in calm and rage. However, I realised I didn’t have enough of my own images taken during the flood to put a solid story together.
The changeable weather in our valley: I decided more impact would be created if I could show the same viewpoint and framing through the seasons – which I don’t have.
I also considered “Late Photography” as a subject, again showing pre and post an event. Or a project based around the word “duel”.
Because I was keen to complete the assignment before my holidays I finally I settled on this rather interesting theme, something I drive past on a regular basis when visiting my Mum in her nursing home.
Trinity Chapel & Gardens Frodsham
Trinity chapel, built in the Gothic style and with a 123 feet high spire, became a familiar landmark in Frodsham. In the 1970’s dry rot was identified in the church building and during a two year period of alterations much of the old building was demolished. The Frodsham Society organised a “Save our Spire” campaign and with the help of the community the spire and some of the adjoining stonework was saved and restored. Too costly to continue to keep open, (there were two Methodist churches in the town), Trinity closed as a church in 2000 – though not universally agreed I hear!
The spire and some remains were kept for posterity. This landmark is now the approach to Trinity Gardens, a listed Grade II housing development, a creative mixture of luxury apartments and houses all within a conservation area.
I built in some extra time during a visit to see Mum and spent an hour or so looking round and photographing the area. I had never actually walked around the site before, only passed by in the car, so was pleasantly surprised at how much of the chapel building remained and what had been developed behind it. I wanted to show a clear contrast between the old chapel remains and the new housing development. Bearing in mind all I had read and researched in the lead up to the assignment, I focused on offering a clear narrative within the frame that would (hopefully) leave the viewer in no doubt as to what lay outside the frame i.e. for the chapel – more ruins, overgrown grass, a graveyard maybe?
In presenting the new housing development it was important not to show the context, so close up shots carefully framed was key. The intention to allow the viewer to second guess what the theme is – new housing development, modern street setting, fresh landscaping.
Finally I want to put it all into context in order to reveal the actual scene and convince viewers that this is a true setting.
The following are my final selection for the assignment, the order I would display the images and why.
The first three would be viewed as ecclesiastical architecture.
Followed by a further two images revealing more of the structure.
Next I would display these two images, close-ups offering detail of newly built housing. Maybe the viewer would consider the connection to be old versus new.
More of the context is revealed in the image to the left. However the image on the right offers a disconnect to the other images and confuses the viewer.
Now we start to see a connection, the old wall in the foreground and the new row of houses standing proudly behind. The next image is more revealing and shows us how part of the chapel building and a new apartment block marry up.
The image to the left puts context to the whole set and the final image reintroduces the “odd one out” white building, through the old archway.
Demonstration of technical skills – I have used my camera and lens settings effectively to produce a variety of framing and viewpoints. Some of my shots were taken into the sun – it was a bright day – I remembered to use fill in flash (as per tutor feedback on my previous course module), but still need more practice for better results.
Quality of outcome – I am pleased with the result and feel that my images demonstrate a good interpretation of the brief and what I set out to achieve. I think I have presented them in the best order to convey a cohesive narrative.
Demonstration of creativity – My aim here was to create a set of images that aroused curiosity and offered a true story leading the reader through a beginning, middle and end. I am not sure I took any risks, but I did seek out something unusual in true documentary style (a representation of reality).
Context – I have put a lot of time into part one of this module, ensuring I fully covered all the projects and exercises. The research points in this module are new to me and I feel this is an important part of my development, so by putting all my focus on this area I have not yet completed any individual research on photographers, as in previous modules. I intend to work on this throughout the course.