Category Archives: iii. Progress June to November 2019

Tutor Formative Feedback on Progress Report Assignment 6

 

My tutor’s Formative Feedback related to Assignments 4, 5 and 6.  Extract below in respect of Assignment 6 – Transitions.

Assignment 6/Transitions

Progressing well, keep pushing – you may need to shoot in conditions that are not within your comfort zone in order to complete the unit in time. Looking over your recent edits/ contacts, I am less drawn to the images of the occupied cricket pitch or spaces that are explicitly occupied or used for sport, and more to the images that chart some of the traces of human interference in the landscape, such as the strange branch sculptures and pathways etc. I’m not sure the notion of the ‘green man’ works as a concept when viewed cold so might need a bit more work to align and articulate. You’re thinking about different approaches to the edit – continue mining what you might mean by this green man idea, and use this as a guide for a wide selection that you can live with and revisit, questioning what it really is you want to say and using that, and technical quality, to inform the final edit.

 I’ve had consistent feedback from my tutor about her preference for images charting traces of human ‘interference’ in the landscape – my own term for this is ‘interrupted landscape’.  I’ve continued to include the sporting spaces and playground areas in case I do use them at some point and as part of tracking changes over time.  However, looking at this in a different way, sporting activities are pretty ubiquitous in parks and recreation grounds whereas human interaction with woods/trees is more idiosyncratic and, therefore, of more interest .  I have also continued to create short videos with my phone camera and so, potentially, I could use some of the still photographs within a compilation video –  not to submit for assessment but for my own pleasure and practice in video compilation.

 “Green man” Nîmes, France © Przemyslaw Sakraida 2010
from https://commons.wikimedia.org

Norwich cathedral cloisters roof boss
from https://commons.wikimedia.org

 The term ‘Green Man’ is thought to have been applied by Julia, Lady Raglan in her 1939  article about foliate heads or marks which can be found in some churches and graveyards. There is an interesting article here http://greenmanenigma.com/theories.html  which provides an overview of theories and interpretations of such features which can be found in many countries without coming to a specific conclusion as to their ‘meaning’ as symbols of life and nature; fertility; death and rebirth; demon or as artistic interpretation; survivor from other mythologies or primeval archetype central to our relationship with Nature.

However, “A common link in nearly all of the legends and myths which have been suggested as precursors of the Green Man is that of metamorphosis and transformation” and that fits for me with “Transitions” and also my own small green man who has sprouted with leaves all over since I first photographed him. Unfortunately, as he has grown in size it has become increasingly different to get a series of technically good photographs of him because he is slightly behind a larger tree which he has moved closer to as his branches and leaves have grown. I’ve adjusted as much as possible and converted to square format to show the change in growth.

Onwards now to the editing process. Thanks also to my tutor and OCA Support for agreeing to my suggestion that I submit Assignment 6 before Assignment 5, giving me more time to work on the latter during January.

 

 

http://greenmanenigma.com/theories.html

 

 

Assignment 6: Progress June to November 2019

 

I’ve continued followed the year round with my camera at least once a month apart from July. The ‘dog lost’ posters have disappeared now, although there have been occasional mentions of possible sightings on Facebook. Football teams were replaced by cricket teams and now back again to football. I missed July, mainly due to holiday, but compensated with two sessions at the beginning and end of August – this made sure I still had ‘Summer’.

June 2019 

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/376217654″>June 2019</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/cblearninglog”>Catherine Banks</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

I discovered someone had set fire to some documents in an area off the main path amongst the trees next to the same spot where I’d discovered the bird box and branch shelter during Spring.  The fire was still smouldering so I went off and informed one of the park keepers then went back and did a very short video.  I have a feeling it might have been someone leaving school and having a celebration ceremony – not a good idea amongst trees!

August 2019

August 13: I chose 15 out of 63 . My ‘Green Man’ is spreading and it’s difficult to get a good view of him as he’s right next to a large tree so I took a portrait view of him.  I took another portrait of the lower trunk of a tree because the shadows on it really appealed to me.

 

 

August 31: 28 chosen out of 56. Cricket season is going well. Sweet chestnuts are ripening.

 

September

32 chosen out of 67.  The trees are taking on their Autumn colour now.

 

October

32 chosen out of 118.

 

 November

39 chosen out of 99.  The golds of Autumn becoming duller, fading.

 

Next steps

I have many photographs to revisit for a second edit and need to decide my strategy for submission for feedback before starting on this. The Assignment brief states, “The quantity of work that you submit will depend on your strategy”.  Also, “When completed, the assignment should address the notion that the landscape is an evolving dynamic system. You may wish to confirm, question or subvert this assertion”.  That’s interesting because, yes, the landscape has changed – noticeably the colours and the ‘thinning out’ of trees as leaves, horse and sweet chestnuts have dropped.  The ‘view ‘from the Viewpoint has changed accordingly. Yet, these changes have progressed so slowly as to be almost unnoticeable until, suddenly, there appears to be blossom on trees in Spring and then leaves have changed their colour in Autumn.

There’s a sedateness and tranquillity about Ether woods.  In fact, not that many people walk in the woods there.  Probably the busiest time is the Saturday morning Parkrun. Because of this it seems quite dramatic when people intervene in the landscape more specifically – as with the ‘Christmas” Tree, memorial flowers and the small fire.  Even seeing a bird box in a tree seems quite exciting.  There was one day when we were walking in the woods and saw a group of adults and young children in the part where the memorial flowers had been. The children were wrapping what looked like rolls of paper around trees and around themselves.  I didn’t even have my phone with me to take photographs let alone my camera.  It was around Halloween so we concluded in the end that it must have been something to do with that.  There was no sign of anything the next day.

Editing ideas so far are:-

  • By each season – would provide a narrative of each season but not compare/contrast.
  • Specific aspects season by season – particular trees, particular views from the Viewpoint, the ‘green’ man, human interventions. There’s scope for typologies in terms of ‘shelters’ too as here with Simon Roberts’s “Dwellings” (2017) . Thanks to my student colleague Jonathan Lamb for pointing me towards that work.
  • Mixing the seasons to give a birds-eye view. Thinking here of Andy Sewell and “The Heath”,  the flow of the book seems random to begin with but, as I look through and allow the images to drift in my mind, they sink deeper into my consciousness as if I’m walking through it. This fits very much with Sewell’s intention – he writes:

In a way this work is about the perception of what is natural, but it’s also an attempt to explore what E.O. Wilson called the human condition of “Biophilia”, being drawn to somewhere that feels natural without knowing why.  Over the last five years I have spent many hours walking on the Heath.  With this set of pictures I hope to convey something of what I was looking for and what I found.  (A. Sewell, The Heath 2011)

My interest in Biophilia has been an underlying theme during the course of Assignment 6 and was also one of the threads underlying my critical Review for Assignment 4.

I wrote about Susan Trangmar here. In her project “A Play in Time” Trangmar covered a year’s filming in St Ann’s Park, Hove, observing the changes of weather and seasons. For her the internal rhythm and shape of the published work was more important than following a chronology.

Many of Jem Southam’s Projects have followed places through time.  I accessed an older interview here  by Aaron Schuman in February 2005 concerning Landscape Stories a collection of his work from three series. Talking about the importance of series and his strategies/methods of storytelling, Southam says that each of his works is ‘built from the inside’ with an important principle being that it has, “[… ] a distinct form, which has been directed by the process of exploring the site itself, as well as the research that informs that process”. The narrative structure of each body of work, depends on the constituency of each site, his relationship with it.

There’s much to consider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://susantrangmar.com/about/biography.html

http://www.andysewell.com/the-heath-1

http://www.seesawmagazine.com/southam_pages/southam_interview.html

https://www.simoncroberts.com/tag/saatchi-gallery/