Assignment 5 – Ideas & Initial Research

barcelona teleferique - 13/04/2014

barcelona teleferique – 13/04/2014

For this last assignment, I arranged a phone tutorial at the end of April to go through the ideas I had for narratives In preparation I sent him a quick summary of the 4 ideas I wanted to examine: they covered a reasonable spectrum of stories and possible treatments ranging from total control through to recording an event.

Idea 1: Alice – Birth to 2 year-old in Clothes

My daughter is newly two, and we still have not got round to passing on the clothes she no longer fits.

I quite fancy the idea of doing something that shows what she would have worn typically (with increases in size) at 3 months intervals.

There would be body suits, sleep suits, shoes, trousers, coats etc etc to document into some sort of typology. Also, plenty of colour, opportunities for framing to get some idea of growth over 3 otherwise identical tops say etc etc

Idea 2:  Crosswords

Taking 3 of the different sorts of clues (anagrams, read throughs and conventional codes for example) and illustrating them with one day’s crossword as it is solved and filled in.

Opportunity for a nice wide cover shot; opportunities for time to be indicated in various ways like changing light through the window, the crossword being filled in, coffee rings on the paper etc etc as a lazy day off is spent doing the puzzle.

Idea 3: Why is Elmfield Road in Walthamstow an incomplete terrace?

Because there’s a small range of 50’s houses in the middle; because a bomb was dropped sometime in late 1940/early 1941…

A mixture of constructed shots:

  • a silhouetted bomber over Walthamstow at night say;
  • details of the bomb damage maps held in the Waltham Forest Archive

And more documentary stuff:

  • the Heinkel bomber at Duxford
  • Elmfield Road (good for this as it’s one-sided allowing you to get far enough back for a wide shot)
  • Possible other missing-tooth bombsites in the area

Idea 4 – A trip over the Thames in the Cable Car from Canning Town to the 02

  • Queuing
  • Getting In
  • The people you share the gondola with
  • The view.
  • Exterior shots of the ride (near/far)

Stuff like that – giving a simple journey narrative thing, probably taking two journeys to get all the pictures.

Also maybe include some pictures of the Olympic Teleferique in Barcelona, that I took a week ago (and got the idea for this from) but which don’t add up to a full narrative.

The tutorial passed over ideas one and two to concentrate on either the bombed terrace or the cable car. The crossword idea is technical and safe, consisting of a series of constructed shots; Alice’s clothes could look like a series of catalogue shots and again would equal a good commercial photographic commission rather than something to stretch myself (although I’d still like to do this as a personal project – I think it could be a lot more interesting than the outline above suggests).

David made the point that this stage in the Photography BA  is a good one to take risks with as the only pressure to get marks is the need to get 40% or over, allowing you to move onto the next module. Working on from this he pushed the second two ideas in a more experimental direction than I had been considering up to that point.

For the cable car idea, I had been thinking along simple “journey as narrative” ideas, done with a mixture of of 1st person POV stuff, taking in waiting to get on, crossing the Thames and then getting out at the other side and 3rd person shots of the cable car, the gondolas and the wires overhead. They would not have been radically different from the Barcelona pictures, but would be more comprehensive than those I’d managed to take over the course of a single one way journey with only one, 12-exposure roll of film in a 50 year old folding camera after the last battery died in my digital (one of which is the header for this post). Instead, David suggested a series of pictures taken from a static point of view looking out from the moving gondola. An interesting idea, but not one that jumped out immediately as the one to do.

But then, for the filled in blitz-gap in the middle of a row of terraced houses, David’s idea clicked instantly! He suggested doing something along the lines of Steffi Klenz’s Nummianus, a piece I was familiar with from Fox and Caruana’s Behind the Image, where three of the pictures are used across pages 12 & 13 to illustrate the idea of choosing a title to add meaning to a body of work. While following this approach would move away from the magazine article part of the assignment, arranging pictures in a printable sequence would still be possible (I think I will produce a postcard-sized concertina-type book which would be capable of being displayed as a free-standing sequence on a shelf or of being fully opened out and pinned to a wall.

Excited, I moved onto more detailed research and planning…


Behind the Image – Anna Fox and Natasha Caruana (AVA publishing SA, 2012)

Nummianus – (link accessed 17/06/2015)

3 thoughts on “Assignment 5 – Ideas & Initial Research

  1. Judy Bach

    Good luck , it sounds a really interesting project. I would also certainly continue with your first idea as an ongoing project , it would make an excellent family heirloom in years to come too , something for your daughter to cherish. Plus I think it is something that could be used as an assignment in the future .

  2. Pingback: assignment 5 – moving the idea forward | Simon Chirgwin's Learning (B)Log

  3. Pingback: assignment 5 – narrative | Simon Chirgwin's Learning (B)Log

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