In our earliest years we know a patch of ground in a detail we will
never know anywhere again – site of discovery and putting names to
things – people and places – working with difference and similitude
– favourite places, places to avoid – neighbours and their habits,
gestures and stories – textures, smells – also of play, imagination,
experiment – finding the best location for doing things – creating
worlds under our own control, fantasy landscapes.
(Professor Mike Pearson)
This quotation from Prof. Pearson suggests a context for the “Square Mile” brief for Assignment One. Although the assignment notes say not to overthink it, having read the quote thoroughly a number of ideas spring unbidden to my mind. We moved house about five weeks ago, to a tiny hamlet in West Dorset. I was brought to this same area on family holidays some fifty years ago, to stay for a fortnight at a time at a pub in the adjacent village. It’s very rural and much of it hasn’t changed at all in the intervening years, but of course I have changed – a great deal.
Prof. Pearson mentions knowing a ‘patch of ground in detail’ – I’m thinking about rediscovering some of the details which became known to me as a ten-year-old boy, coming from an inner city environment to a sparsely populated, agricultural coastline. I’m interested in recalling some of the evocative elements and isolating them from their current context. I was also intrigued by the reference to ‘neighbours and their habits’ because I mean to incorporate as much people photography as I can summon the courage for in this course – that will have to wait for the time being but it might be an interesting idea to pursue.
This is my outline plan for the assignment: I’ll aim to visit some of the most memorable places I can recall and attempt to make photographs of the reason why they were memorable. Rather than embark on a kind of random photographic safari, I will try to clarify some of the possible images beforehand, thinking through what I actually want to see instead of trusting to luck that images will make themselves apparant on arrival.
I’ve done just one photo project before and it quickly became apparant that it was taking on a life of its own – the original idea mutated to something quite different as the work progressed. I was pleased with this serendipitous turn of events and I’d be quite happy for it to happen again; I think the work turned out better for following the unravelling path rather than sticking to the map.
My natural inclination is to work in monochrome, but for this assignment I’m going to produce colour images, partly because I don’t intend to print them. I’m think I’ll use a square format, just because at the moment it feels right. Maybe I’m referencing the ‘enprints’ of my childhood.
I’m going to visit some of the websites suggested in the Assignment details along with discussing some others which I feel may inform my approach. Knowing my predisposition to equate viewing images with actually taking them I must be wary of spending too much time doing internet ‘research’!