This was a very productive shoot, but after developing one of the rolls of film, I noticed massive light leak issues that spread across almost every frame! This was extremely frustrating and meant that I had lost at least four useable images, and what made it was was the fact that it was an issue with the camera back, and not to do with my process. Most of these photographs were shot around Barton Hill and in Netham Park.
By far the strongest image of this shoot is 54.tif, as I think I have captured the essence of what I wanted this project to be about. This part of Barton Hill is on the peripheral of the city, and the inhabitants of this suburban landscape are controlled by the landscape planning that went into the construction of the area. Terraced houses sit side by side in conjunction with small designated green spaces, which contrast heavily to the many large scale council flats that dominate the skyline. During this shoot, I became quite preoccupied once again with the reasons why I (and many other photographers) have such an interest in the built environment, and especially areas in which socio-economic opportunities are most probably lower than in the centre of a city. I am extremely fortunate to have had what some might call a ‘privileged’ upbringing, as I come from a very supportive middle class family. I do not see myself as condescending, nor do I look down on people. I believe my values to be quite grounded, and I accept the upbringing that I have received. As Donald Winnicott suggested, the object and environments that surround us from an early age, which he refers to as “transitional phenomena” have a considerable effect on how we interact and respond to the world. Therefore, my interest in densely populated suburban areas might stem back to the fact that these environments are in total affliction with the familiar surroundings that I was raised in. My intentions are not to exploit the people that live in such places, and I do not wish to undermine them in anyway. I wish to make work that assists my understanding of the world, particularly the ways in which a city varies. This process has therefore been a personal exploration of not only the city, but also the values in which I hold about myself and those around me.
Thoughts on the technical issues:
As mentioned previously, I encountered technical faults on this shoot which were not to do with user error. The Mamiya RZ-67 that I hired unfortunately had a faulty film back, meaning that light was being let in and exposing parts of the film. This wouldn’t have been so much of a problem if I was just on a location recce, but I had spent hours over the course of a weekend making work for the project. I was considerate with many factors – the choice of weather I was photographing in, where I set up the camera and whether people or cars were present in the imagery. This therefore took up a lot of time, and it felt like such a waste when I saw the rolls of film appearing from the processor. However, after a moment of anger and frustration, I realised that this was just a part of the process and was something that can happen when working with film. It made me value the process even more and encouraged me to reshoot.