I reflected on progress here and discussed with my tutor in our feedback session in February. Below is the relevant extract from the combined formative feedback report:
Helen is very happy with progress so far. She said that she was more interested in the wood, is drawn to ones without people and is less interested in the sporting activities on the Memorial Field. The straight-on view of the bench in No.3004 (26.12.18) is very good. She also suggested I keep photographing the split tree and the tree in 2579 (3.11.18). the basketball court (2571) could be a possibility without the foreground. She was also drawn to the ‘memorial’ tree (26.12.18).
Advice is to keep photographing all the benches because, during the year, everything changes around the benches. Also keep photographing the memorial tree and other structures (try to keep the same standpoint) and to be aware of subtle changes. I can build a visual vocabulary through devising a shooting script and schedule regular intervals – say two shots every season. This won’t be difficult because I go there nearly every day. The challenge is to be disciplined.
Overall, my tutor thought this was a great location to keep shooting and “At this stage I’d be again looking for patterns across these images, what ae you drawn to regularly, what is strong visually – are there any motifs recurring and how can these show “transition”. Her suggestion was to keep things simple, use visual devices to enhance metaphor, seek out compositional clarity, line, perspective. Also to try to keep frames free of too much clutter – either in form, colour or content, or to have a very clear rationale behind overly cluttered frames, e.g. what does that convey.
In the early stages of editing for Assignment 2 I had analysed the frequency in which I had photographed the same kind of scenes (including this as a PDF in my editing process blog post) and this had been very useful. Assignment 6 looks like being quite heavyweight in terms of number of images so a similar editing strategy would work very well.
I know that I’m drawn towards different types of interventions in the landscape – what I’ve come to term “interrupted landscape”. There’s the official landscaping; the Borough’s 5-year plan, removal of dangerous branches; installation of signposts and footpaths; removal of plant species ‘not indigenous’ to the habitat. There are also the less official interventions, the marks of human presence often bordering on performance art. As well as the carving of initials on trees; branch tepees come and go regularly and there’s a new artistic activity of painted pebbles which has its own Facebook page and showing that some ‘Ottershaw rocks” have travelled far and wide. The Christmas ‘memorial’ tree was the first installation of its type and I’ll be interested to see if more appear I am also interested in the difference between the Memorial Fields themselves – the mown grass; different kinds of leisure according to season and the different clothes people wear – and Ether Wood where the changes of season are more subtle whilst changes made as a result of the 5 year plan have been quite marked. – e.g. the clearing out of rhodedendron bushes and holly and building of some paths with grit composite material.
I know my tutor said she is less interested in the people but they are interesting to me, not only in terms of people enjoying being outside but in how they occupy the space; take charge of it. For them it’s there to be used as a stage for them to act upon (borrowing from Simon Robert’s approach). Susan Trangmar’s film and book “A Play in Time” (2008) is a valuable resource as well. Excerpt below:-
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/4726751″>Excerpt from "A Play in Time" by Susan Trangmar</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user1778739″>Helen Wade</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
This kind of film is an inspiration for me and I think it could translate quite well to iPhone video if I can find the right route to it.
I’m a little concerned regarding my tutor’s advice to try to keep to the same standpoints when I’m re-photographing the benches, trees and other structures. With such variety to choose from it’s not really possible to put markers down so I’ll have to see how that transpires.