Tutorial Write Up – Nick Bright // 14.11.16

In this project tutorial, I had produced more work in which to show Nick. We discussed how the project was going, and I explained that I had been trying to photograph more people in the transitional spaces in which I had encountered. One of the first things he noticed was the fact that all of my subjects were men, and in order to describe more about the places, it would be wise to try and photograph a breadth of people, including women. We talked about one photograph in particular, which is the full length portrait of Harry underneath the M32 overpass (fig.1). We both agreed that this image was not as successful as the central full length portrait, as the visual hierarchy of the M32 motorway dominates the frame, and distracts to much from the focal point of the figure. It was therefore decided that this image should not appear in the final edit.


Fig. 1.

Nick pointed me towards some other relevant photographers in which I have now researched. In Joel Sternfeld’s series Stranger Passing (link to blog page), a body of work spanning fifteen years was produced, focussing on strangers that the photographer encountered whilst travelling around America. As well as suggesting Sternfeld’s work, Nick also directed me to Joel Meyerowitz, particularly his project about Central Park called Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks. Following a semi-predetermined route through the city, we act as explorers when looking through the body of work and are allowed moments of contemplation as Meyerowitz shows us patches of natural splendour hidden within the urban space. Forests and meadows, marshes and shorelines. They are all present in this documentation of the wild side of New York city.

Mark Power was another photographer that Nick mentioned, and his project The City of Six Towns was particularly relevant to look at. This body of work focusses on Stoke-on-Trent, which is made up of six towns: Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton. Power spent 15 days constantly moving back and forth between the towns and making pictures of the residents and environments. Something that captured his attention was the fact that there were layers of history evident everywhere in these post-industrial towns. He said that “behind every new build was a sign of the past, while in front of every ruin – ancient or modern – could be found evidence of potential change. ”

To move the project forward, we discussed the idea of seeking out more locations for me to explore and to respond intuitively. It also made sense to try and move away slightly from the Brutalist architecture that I was originally drawn to at the start of this project, as to make this a successful body of work, I needed to be more diverse and produce a variety of images. I needed to respond affectively to the places, but also to introduce quieter ‘non places’ in which people transition through. Nick suggested to head out towards Avon Meads and Barton Hill, which are areas on the outskirts of Bristol in which population density and ethnic diversity is high. Therefore, I could see my work progressing from just looking at transitional spaces, to places in which are manufacture and contained within the parameters of the city. For example, areas such as Barton Hill have many large residential flats with some carefully considered green spaces dotted around. These kinds of places appeal to me, and I want to photograph them in a way that communicates the slight confusion that I feel when thinking about the way in which a city works, and how people are in some ways confined or restricted by their surroundings.

In terms of thinking about a final outcome for this project, I do not feel that the project will be completely finished by the hand in date. It was therefore advised by Nick, and Jim at a later date to work towards producing a portfolio box of final prints. As well as doing this, he suggested that it would be wise to consider other possible outcomes for the project, such as producing a book or a zine. At its current stage, the project does not have enough content to fill a book, but I think it would suit a zine format. I therefore plan to make a zine with a selection of environmental portraits and landscapes, as well as a selection of final prints.





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