For this project I wanted to look at the idea of how space is created and used within different environments and therefore how we interact with that space. I also wanted to show the idea of space as a non – materialised form, what I mean by this is, to use an area within the landscape that depicts a specific space, but which could also metaphorically relates to other ideas of space, for example our relationships with other people. I wanted to show the everyday spaces which we as a mass move within all the time; I also wanted to look at the variety of spaces we inhabit, those being, urban, rural and industrial. Although I realise there are other formats of space these are the three main environments I wanted to investigate.
To begin by looking at other varieties of artists that have approached their photographic projects similarly to me. Photographers who have looked at similar themes or created images which relate with my own work. First of all I looked at the Beuchers, because of their systematic approach to photography, the water towers series was of particular interest; I was inspired by how they composed each shot. I wanted my own work to show a similar trait of identical compositions. I took my photographs at eye level, using a standard lens; I tried to keep the camera as close to parallel as I could without the use of a tripod. I didn’t want to use a tripod because of how static it can be to work with; I wanted to be a bit freer with how I shot my photographs. I then looked at Richard Billingham and the ‘Untitled’ series he shot, although the photographs were taken in a different manner to my own, the compositions of the landscapes and the framing of these subjects were very much the same to what I wanted to achieve. I also particularly liked the unnatural colours that ran throughout the series, although I wouldn’t have adopted this for my own work as I wanted to stay as true as possible to the reality of the landscape. I then looked at Thomas Ruff as I was intrigued by his meticulous approach to photography, I really appreciated how he could shoot a mundane scene and make every detail stand out and be admired.
For my own project I wanted to photograph spaces within certain landscapes, those being urban, rural and industrial that I had never seen before. I chose three places to visit, Sutton Surrey, Hayward’s Heath and Bosham, each located on a train map as being in north, east and westerly directions. I chose these three locations as I had never visited these places before, I thought it was important for me not to have a preconceived idea of the environment I would end up in, I wanted the photographs I took in these landscapes to be as objective as is possible. On each location, I wanted to capture four compositions of the town, to give the spectator an idea of what that area looks like, but also to show that I wasn’t being biased or pre-editing my photographs beyond the nature of my three chosen themes, rural, urban and industrial. It was also important to me that the photographs were taken in a similar manner, all the images needed to be taken at eye level, as this is how I saw the landscape before me quite literally, as well this I tried to keep the camera level with the ground, which wasn’t always easy especially when photographing buildings. The other decision I needed to make was to decide if the photographs should be edited with more than a simple crop and lightening technique; i decided to keep the photographs as true to their reality as possible, so i only allowed myself the use of the crop tool and curve function in Photoshop.
After editing down the images I had collected from these locations, I choose twelve final photographs, four images from each place. I am entirely satisfied that I managed to capture the most well presented compositions within those areas for this project. The final photographs I have produced are a good indication of what each location looks like, they are as objective as I could possibly be, they show in my opinion accurately the theme of space be it urban, rural or industrial.
Originally I wanted to try a much more systematic approach to my project, I wanted to use the statistics of an average walk being 0.9 miles and to then apply this information. I wanted to take a photograph north, east, south and west of the train station I chose at precisely 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm, so that the spectator would be able to see the natural progression of the light within the images, I also wanted to use these directions as it would give unarguable results which couldn’t be questioned as influenced by myself. However due to the specific distance each photograph would need to be, it wasn’t entirely possible within my time scale as well to practise this approach, I would have obviously encountered streets, houses and other such landmarks which to place myself at 0.9 miles exactly would have meant literally walking over buildings, which unfortunately isn’t completely possible.
The exhibition became the last problematic area for me to handle and decide how to display my photographs. I began by looking at using a video and audio, I wanted to present my photographs as stills with audio, which would have been a voice speaking the directions to the location of the photograph the spectator was viewing. There are few reasons I choose not to use this idea, firstly I began to think that perhaps incorporating the idea of the location of the space and fusing that with how the space within the composition came to be created and is now used, would create too many variations for the viewer to think about, to comprehend, there would be literally be too many themes within this project. However I did believe it to be a useful and necessary possibility that each of the photographs would be titled with their location, be it a street name or place. Also the technical aspects of having a projection within the gallery space was far too complex, and logistically difficult, for example I would have had to provide all of the equipment which would have been expensive but more importantly the audio would have had to run through head phones, due to the nature of the exhibition, and I didn’t like the idea of people having to wait to view the work. So then I began to think about using text instead of audio within the realms of a video, I also started to think about then presenting this work on two large Mac computer screens, however i decided against this idea as it seemed unprofessional, but more importantly i thought that the size of the work was important as well and the computer screen would simply not do the composition of the photographs justice. I then started to think about printed twelve smaller images which would be placed together in a grid, however again the idea of the photographs being small and becoming lost upon the wall began to make me think that perhaps the only real way to show justice to the project I have just created was to display the images in larger format A3 – A1 size, this however meant that I couldn’t have all twelve images printed, as there simply wouldn’t be enough wall space within the exhibition for me to present the photographs as I would have liked. So I again thought about having the photographs printed, however instead of all twelve being presented, to show just an edited version of the series by showing only two photographs, the two most prominent and most projective of the theme I was working on.
In conclusion, the journey to create this project has taught me a lot about myself and about my own personal style of photography. It was difficult at times to stay completely truthful to the project in regards to editing the images and how they are being exhibited, it was hard not to let the aesthetics of the photography take over and allow the concept to become lost. Through the struggle that this project was in parts, I believe that I have fully explored how space, open, empty, well composed and walled-in space has been created. I liked the idea of how a building and another building have come together to create an anonymous space between, which they now guard and restrict. A space, which we are allowed to enter into and to pass through, an area which can be so simple, so normal and so mundane that they are completely disregarded by us until bought together and to the attention of others. With more time and resources, I would take this project further, to explore other areas in and around Sussex and perhaps beyond. I would look at creating no restrictions, and i would want to explore not only the idea of space and how its created and used by us, but also how it is framed, the geometrical shapes that surround the space and what our interpretation of them is, I would want to explore further the idea of space in a non-materialised form, how it exists within our relationships and how this is projected into our living conditions. I am proud of the project that I have produced, the works that I have created and the theme that I have explored, I feel that I have more than adequately conveyed my theme through a form of photographic practise and I also perhaps more importantly feel that it’s completely relevant to our own modern day approach to living, to where we live and subsequently how we then choose to live.