Category Archives: 1. Ass 5 Planning

Tutor Formative Feedback on Proposal for Assignment 5 – Self-directed Project

My tutor provided feedback on Assignment 4 (Critical Review), my proposal for Assignment 5 (Self-directed Project) which was the subject of Coursework Exercise 4.6 and my progress report on Assignment 6 (Transitions).  The relevant extract relating to Assignment 5 Proposal is below:-

Ex 4.5: Assignment 5 Project proposal:

 A well-written proposal even showing test shots that have been discussed with peers (do write
up reflection on their feedback!). Some ambitious starting points but a really interesting basis
for a project. You’re right to see A5 as exploratory in this way as you are short of time –
however you will still need to submit a coherent set of pictures/rationale. Seeing your proposal and images led me to consider Well’s mindset in Woking and what he may have drawn on in the landscape – the strange natural occurrences in the ground beneath our (and perhaps his) feet – an imagined alternate world/space. I think images 1, 3, 4 (and even 5 to some extent) are really interesting in relation to this. I would keep your shoots as simple as possible – experiment but be mindful as it could cause the final outcome to be rushed.

 I’m pleased and relieved that my tutor picked up on consideration of Wells’s mindset whilst he was in Woking because this is what interests me – his reaction to the landscape there, particularly Horsell Common, and his thoughts on the World as it was then, e.g. his views on the behaviour of the British towards the indigenous people in Tasmania and his interest in science and technology – all of which became the seeds of War of the Worlds

 Suggested reading/viewing:

I want to take your attention back to John Angerson’s English Journey, which I see echoes of in
your A5 tests. I think re-thinking this and his later work On This Day and 108.71 Acres would be
helpful. In terms of future research into more elaborate works that deal with fact/fiction and
alternate realities, see Joan Fontcuberta and also The Institute of Critical Zoologists.

I didn’t know of the work of John Angerson so am grateful for this suggestion as his work is most relevant and I will write further in another post.  I have previously written about Joan Fontcuberta and the Institute of Critical Zoologists and agree that this more complex work would be very appropriate should I decide to expand beyond the exploratory project in the future. Small steps though at this stage taking note of my tutor’s advice to “Focus energies and efforts as you reach your unit deadline, extended tangents in deep research or experimentation could be distracting”.  I will keep it simple, walk observe and photograph what draws my attention.


Exercise 4.6: Proposal for the self-directed project

The War of the Worlds: Projections from the past to the future


The author H. G. Wells moved to Woking, Surrey in May 1895, accompanied by his future wife, Amy Catherine Robins. They rented a house (still there and with a blue plaque) in the Maybury area of Woking – opposite the railway line – living there for almost eighteen months.  It has been suggested that the time spent in Woking was the most productive and creative of Well’s writing career and one of the books written there is the topic of this Project.

The War of the Worlds was first published during 1897, in serial form in Pearsons Magazine, then appearing in volume form in 1898.  It is narrated in the first-person by an unnamed man and also his younger brother, at a future time when the South of England is invaded by Martians. Various interpretations of the book have been as a commentary on evolutionary theory, British imperialism and Victorian superstitions, fears and prejudices in general. Wells himself said that the plot resulted from a discussion he had had with his younger brother about the catastrophic impact of the British on the indigenous Tasmanians.  Wells had wondered what would happen if Martians invaded Britain and treated the British in the same way that they themselves had treated the Tasmanians.

The Project Brief

The Martians invade Earth due to their own dwindling resources and the book is amazingly prescient given our own Space explorations nowadays plus the growing fear that Climate change will lead to the end of life on our planet Earth.

Where and Why: I have lived near to, and within, the area of Woking since 1986 and what is particularly interesting to me is that Wells used actual locations in the book that I know well, particularly Horsell Common, where the Martians landed. Near the beginning of the book Wells writes about his friends observatory in Ottershaw.  I know there is no such place but am intrigued as to where he might have imagined its location. Ottershaw Church was founded in 1863 and was built upon the rise of a hill and has a bell tower – perhaps Wells noticed this on one of his trips  when he was cycling down to Chertsey and Shepperton.

How: I will be using Canon 6D camera plus, potentially iPhone camera and, perhaps, a holga pinhole lens on the 6D.  I also have an idea in my head around polaroid photography/emulsion lifts to convey a transient element

This is potentially a lengthy project, but I am treating this Assignment as an exploratory one in which I will confine myself to the area to from Wells’s house on Maybury Road  to/around Horsell Common (taking in a small part of Basingstoke Canal) and thence to walk from Horsell Common to Fairoaks Airport. This is potentially two sessions and a third will be Christ Church, Ottershaw.

Influences and Research


List of artists already looked at below. Research will be ongoing.

Artist Research suggestions for Assignment 5

Literary and Historical:-

To begin with the book itself, including copies with illustrations and also a comic book; Auto-biography and biography of H. G. Wells; old postcards of the area; Information from Woking Anniversary celebration (already obtained). Listen to an available copyright-free recording of the radio play by Orson Welles.

Visit to Surrey History Centre, Woking to access vintage maps of the area/s covered by the book and any available material on Wells’s stay in Woking. (To be arranged)


There are several possibilities. Alternative Realities – mirrors between worlds – past, imagined future and present. Use of a mirror or some form of illumination (cf Keith Arnatt’s work).  I could treat the project as a ‘Search for Ottershaw Observatory’ or compare the Woking Wells would have known with the Woking today. I intend to keep an open mind so will do an initial shoot and see what comes to mind as I photograph.

I would like to create an altered book as I have several copies of the book that I can disassemble, re-combine and add to.  Just a thought at the moment.

Estimated schedule to be discussed with my tutor.


This Project fits in with my previous work in terms of explorations in Ottershaw (Assignment 1 and Assignment 6) and the Basingstoke Canal in Woking (Assignment 2). aIt also fits with my continuing interest in stories in and about the landscape.  I have already visited Horsell Common and taken some test shots with my iPhone which I have shared and discussed with some photographer/artist colleagues.