Bibliography

Bibliography

Arnold, C. (2010) Fish Work: Europe Arnold is a commercial fisherman and exhibited photographer. http://coreyfishes.com/albums/fish-work-europe/: Corey Arnold (Accessed: 20th October 2016).

Barbiaux J. (2015) Street Photography   http://decisiveshot.com/aetting-the-trap-for-great-shots/  Just Street Photography, USA (Accessed 28.1.2015)

Barthes R. Understanding Text   http://www.arts.uwaterloo.ca/~raha/700_701_web/BarthesLO/intro.html (Accessed 14.09.2016)

Birrell, R. (2011) Faded Seaside Glory Project about the decline of the seaside towns of Redcar and Whitley Bay http://robbirrell.com/category/projects/faded-seaside-glory/ (Accessed: August 25th 2015).

Carofano R. (2016) Photographer (web page) USA http://carofano.com/about-ray/ (Accessed 04.09.16)

Cornish, J. Joe Cornish Photographs. http://www.joecornishgallery.co.uk/joe-cornish-t302: Joe Cornish Galleries (Accessed: August 25th
2015).

Darren, R. Framing Your Shots-Photography Composition Technique.  Digital Photography School http://digital-photography-school.com/framing-your-shots-photography-composition-technique/

Detrie, T. (2002) Gestalt Principles and Dynamic Symmetry: Nature’s Design Connections to Our Built World. Discussion of natural principles important to visual design. Arizona State University: University of Cincinnati, Ohio  http://www.public.asu.edu/~detrie/msj.uc_daap/article.html (Accessed: 20th November 2016).

Falconer K. (2015)  Forever Amber: Britain’s answer to Magnum present life under a lens for marginalised communities of the North East. The Independent. London. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/photography/for-ever-amber-britains-answer-to-magnum-present-life-under-a-lens-for-marginalized-communities-of-10360498.html   (Accessed 2nd January 2017).

Frost L. Coastal Portfolio http://www.leefrost.co.uk/coastal.asp (Accessed: August 25th 2015)

Fynn, S. (2012)  “The Decisive Moment : Understanding Convergence”. SudioFynn  Available at: http://www.studiofynn.com/journal/decisive-moment-understanding-convergence (Accessed: 28th February 2016).

Garvey-Williams R. (2014), A. P., East Sussex 2014. Mastering Composition. East Sussex: Ammonite Press.

Hunter et.al.  Light: Science & Magic, An Introduction to Photographic Lighting (5th ed.) Focal Press,  New York & London

Huynh, Jean-Batiste 2003, Couteau  https://www.artsy.net/artwork/jean-baptiste-huynh-couteau

II, D. S. (2009) Shooting Strangers. Shooting Strangers Shots of  strangers in the streets of Singapore at weekends. . http://dannyst.com/a-face-in-the-crowd.html: Danny Santos II (Accessed: August 25th 2015).

J., B. (2015) Street Photography. JUST STREET PHOTOGRAPHY. http://photolisticlife.com/category/street-photography-2/: Photolisticlife (Accessed: 28th February 2016).

Jim, Z. (2014) Composition: Leading Lines How to use leading lines to direct the viewer’s eye.  PHOTOVIDEOEDU. Available at: http://www.photovideoedu.com/Learn/Articles/jim-zuckerman-on-composition-leading-lines.aspx (Accessed: 20th September 2015).

Karen, K.? Marks of Distinction. London: Thames and Hudson

Katja (2011) Abstract Processing Demonstration of post processing changes: http://nordljusfollowyourstar.blogspot.co.uk/2011_04_01_archive.html (Accessed: 20th September 2015).

Kim, E. (2014 ) Debunking the “Myth of the Decisive Moment.  Eric Kim http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2014/05/23/debunking-the-myth-of-the-decisive-moment/(Accessed: 28th February 2016).

Kim E. (2013), 10 Things Garry Winogrand can teach you about Street Photography.  Eric Kim  http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2012/08/20/10-things-garry-winogrand-can-teach-you-about-street-photography/ (accessed 28th February 2016)

Loud, P. (1970-1996) Tankers at Swan Hunters, Wallsend. 1970s.  Available at: http://www.peterloud.co.uk/photos/Newcastle/Wallsend/Tyne_Pride.html

Luke, C. (2015) Zig Zag Pattern. Abstract Photography Blog. https://lukecaseyphotography.com/tag/abstract/: Luke Casey (Accessed: 20th September 2015).

McDiarmid, H. (1990) Regional Study: The Fishing Industry in North East England, Sea fish Report 390, http://www.seafish.org/media/Publications/SR390.pdf.

Mize, D. A Guide to the Golden Ration (aka (Golden Section or Golden Mean) for Artists. Art Tutorials: A mathematical ratio found in nature that has many names including the Golden Section or Mean and applied to art.: http://emptyeasel.com/2009/01/20/a-guide-to-the-golden-ratio-aka-golden-section-or-golden-mean-for-artists/ (Accessed: 20th November 2016).

Pain, M. (2016) Mark Pain Photography. Olympics/Parlympics Mark Pain is an award winning sports photographer and captured many frozen moments in the 2012 Olympics. http://www.markpain.com/about.html: Mark Pain (Accessed: 9th January 2016).

Peterson D, Shoot Still-Life Images Like a Dutch Master , digitalphotosecrets http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/5782/still-life-images/ (accessed 14/07/16)

Ronk L. (2013) Lisa Larsen’s Curiously Intimate Crowd Photos Time, New York, USA

Rowse D. (web page), Framing your Shots.  Digital Photography School, Melbourne, Australia http://digital-photography-school.com/framing-your-shots-photography-composition-technique/ (Accessed 2nd January 2017)

Santos D. II (2015) A Face in the Crowd,  Shooting Strangers, Danny Santos II,Singapore. http://dannyst.com/a-face-in-the-crowd.html (Accessed
12.01.2017)

Schwartz ME, T.-T. M. B. e. (2006)  Photography and writing in Latin America: double exposure. . USA:  University of New Mexico Press.

The Edgerton Digital Collections project. http://edgerton-digital-collections.org/.

Tiko,  Still Life Photography https://www.flickr.com/photos/tiko-revazishvili/3361558361/ (accessed 28/7/16)

Tucker, P. (2014) Seaside Images of the space between land and sea where he senses nostalgia and past glories of the seaside holiday which conflicts with the emptiness of the today’s landscape. http://www.paultucker.co.uk/seaside.htm (Accessed: August 25th 2015).

Tutorials, C. i. C. P. (Accessed: 20/11/2016) Composition: Rule of Thirds. Cambridge in Colour: Photography Tutorials On-line tutorial: Cambridge in Colour. Available at: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/rule-of-thirds.htm (Accessed: 20th November 2016).

Wayne, T. The Importance of a Focal Point. Photography Tips & Techniques On -line tutorial about the importance of the focal point to draw the viewers eye into the image. http://www.picturecorrect.com/tips/focal-point-in-photo-compositions/: PhotoCorrect (Accessed: 16th September 2016)

Wikipedia: Framing (Visual Arts)   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_(visual_arts) (Accessed 20th November 2016)

 

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Assignment 5: Planning and Reflection

Assessment criteria: Context

Reflection, research, critical thinking…

Why is ‘Context’ such an important part of the assessment criteria?

 The word ‘mutable’ is sometimes used by writers when discussing photography:

Mutable: capable of change or of being changed (Merriam Webster online dictionary)

Some take this mutability (ability to mutate) so far as to say that photographs are essentially empty. Allan Sekula, for instance, says that photographs are a fragment of the world with just ‘the possibility of meaning’ (1982, in Bull, 2010, p.41).

 The meaning depends on the context – where the photograph is published or displayed, the caption or other text with it, the sequence of images around it. As you continue to take photographs on the OCA photography programme, you’ll also be developing a context for them, shifting the emphasis from formal and aesthetic concerns to include what you feel about it and want it to mean.

Preparation and Planning

Thoughts 
Use the North East coastline as inspiration
Use the inspiration of Ray Carofano of using dereliction and decay as a starting point
Take a fishing boat and document it’s life (or one like it) from build (birth) to end of life (death) in the boat graveyard.
Document the increasing fishing industry after it’s decline in the 1970s. Parkol Marine have a full book of orders until 2018.  The boats in North Shields have increased from 7 to about 20 today.
I made copious notes about possible subjects.
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Example of my notes
Shots
  1. The Build
  2. Detail of the Build (Courtesy of Parkol Marine, Whitby)
  3. More build
  4. Setting sail – shot still to be taken,  if can’t be achieved use Seahouses Harbour shot
  5. Landing the catch in harbour
  6. Detail – landing the catch (in this case. crabs and lobsters)
  7. Fishing Boat fishing – unlikely to get this shot – rethink needed – maybe a shot of the fishermen
  8. Detail – equipment, nets or pots?
  9. Graveyard – overview
  10. ?overview/?more detail
Presention – thoughts
  1. As shot
  2. Black & white
  3. Carofano style
  4. Find poetry or song lyrics to attach to the photos.

Choosing final selection

In coming to the decision of which shots to use, I printed off my contact sheets and made some notes.  I then laid 20 out full size prints (A4) and analysed which order would work best and then I took these prints to a group day for feedback.  I also posted on the OCA forum and Facebook page for feedback.

 

Whatis it  about

When I was thinking about a subject for this assignment I came across a boat graveyard in France and inspired by the work of Ray Carofano who I compared in exercise 5.2 and who has photographed dereliction and decay, I thought this might make a good subject for the assignment.  I had already started to take test shots of beaches, the sea and boats, so this extended my thinking.

However, after taking a series of shots I thought that the subject was a bit narrow and it was difficult to think about the mutability (or the meaning) of the series, how I might present them and how or where they would be viewed.

I thought slowly revealing the site and starting with detailed shots moving through to the whole area might be an option.  Then when I was reviewing this idea I thought about where the wrecks had come from and what kind of people worked on them so I came up with the idea of portraying “The Life and Death of a Fishing Boat” based on  the notion that the fishing industry was in decline.  I focused on two areas in France (boat graveyards) and three areas in the North East – Seahouses, North Shields and Whitby .  All are different in their contribution to fishing boats.  Seahouses (primarily crabs and lobsters) and North Shields (a mixture of white fish and crabs, lobsters and prawns)  are active fishing ports and Whitby has the nearest fishing boat building yard.  The work of Peter Loud and the way he portrayed the size and scale of the ships was an important influence on how I approached my assignment.

In my research  and through talking to fishermen I discovered that despite the perception in the north east that the fishing industry was in decline because of the imposed quotas of the EU and the development of the 200 mile limit imposed by Iceland and Norway, it appears the decline was much more complicated.  The reasons include the  under investment of local ports, particularly that of North Shields, and the migration of cod and haddock to more northern waters which resulted in the larger trawlers who fish for a week at a time landing their catch in Scotland.  This changed the type of fishing from North Shields,and saw an increase in smaller vessels which could only fish in daylight and an increase in fishing for crabs, prawns and lobsters.

Context

I decided on a documentary style of presentation and after careful consideration following my research findings, decided to present the series from the wrecks through to the building of new boats and then images of active fishing boats.

I am very grateful to the staff of Parkol Marine Engineering in Whitby, for allowing me access to the boat building yard.  This presented challenges for photography because it is a very active small yard which currently has at least three vessels in the building process, one of which was just starting and the new keel had just been built taking up a large proportion of the outside yard and as it is a building site it had many hazards, trip as well as others found in such environments.

“Mutability”

Having researched captions with photographs and following comments from my tutor I decided to include the words of relevant poems and songs with the images.    Shwarz M.E. and Tierney -Tello M.B. (eds) suggest that by using such a textual strategy with the images works to insert the reader into the scene  increasing the relationship between the spectator and subject to be more dynamic and complex.  Karen Knorr in her “Marks of Distinction” produces an almost humorous  and certainly a rather sarcastic approach to her subjects by adding text to them.   In my first attempt at adding text I didn’t want to go down this rather unconventional route but wanted to give the images some meaning in the way the boats had been, would be or were being used.  With this in mind I researched and found poems and song lyrics to help illustrate them.

Research

There are many contemporary photographers who shoot sailing vessels and racing yachts but fewer who shoot fishing boats.   There are many images on Flickr and I took inspiration from some of these.

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Screen shot (accessed 18\10\2015)

Corey Arnold a commercial fisherman, has documented his life at sea since 1995.   His documentary demonstrates the hard life of fishermen whilst at sea.  He has exhibited globally.  I tried to book a trip on a fishing boat to take some shots at sea but the weather was inclement with gales and high spring tides and so this was not possible.

I was born in Wallsend where shipbuilding was a significant employment for many men including my brothers.  Peter Loud has a portfolio of the last ships to be built on the Tyne including this one of the propeller of the Everett F.Wells (1976) which inspired my shots of the fishing boat build.
Peter Loud (accessed 18/10/2016)
Assessment Criteria:  Context
If each of the photographs in my final selection were viewed as stand alone images they would not necessarily have a great deal of meaning.  By showing them in the context of the series the information seen in them take on a different context.
The images of the boat graveyard told only part of a story and although some might be seen as artistic it was not immediately obvious what in fact they were.  The image of the porthole in my final selection is an example of this.  If I had chosen to submit this image on its own it is likely to be seen as an abstract shot but by placing it in the context of the documentary style it is clear that it is a porthole.
Originally, I thought that the documentary would start with the boat build and move through to the boat graveyard but the more I thought about the improvement of the fishing industry I wanted to move through the story to end on  a positive note and I am pleased with the way this turned out by ending with working boats.
Creativity
I did want these shots to be more creative and out of my comfort zone so decided to edit them Lightroom and Photoshop.  I increased the colour palette and the contrast between the rusting shots and the sea worked quite well but those of the wrecks and the working boats looked over processed and did not sit well as a series.  I then returned to the original colour palette and processed them to give a more uniform and softer feel.  I also considered presenting them in black and white or processing them in the style of Carofano but the working boat shots especially lost movement and became flat and less interesting.
Reflection
Overall I am pleased with my final ten.  I am pleased with the way they tell the story and that the words direct the viewer to think a little more about the shot and series.
If I were to approach this again I would choose the time of day for shooting more carefully and make sure that it was consistent throughout the series.  Most of my shots were taken in the afternoon, partly because that was when the working boats came in and partly because of travelling around France to the two graveyards.
References
Schwartz ME, Tierney-Tello M.B. (eds) (2006) Photography and writing in Latin America: double exposure.  University of New Mexico Press, USA
Knorr Karen (?) Marks of Distinction, Thames and Hudson, London

 

 

Assignment 5: Fishing Boats

Brief

Take a series of 10 photographs of any subject of your own choosing. Each photograph must be a unique view of the same subject; in other words, it must contain some ‘new information’ rather than repeat the information of the previous image. Pay attention to the order of the series; if you’re submitting prints, number them on the back. There should be a clear sense of development through the sequence.

What is it About?

 My set of images is about Fishing Boats. Having been brought up near the sea and in a shipbuilding town, boats have always fascinated me. Until recently I had a fear of water and so the bravery of those who made their living from the sea had a particular significance for me.

I chose to present in a documentary style for my assignment. I chanced upon a grave boatyard in France and likened this to the decline of the fishing industry. However, during the course of the assignment and through my research I discovered that the fishing industry is in fact enjoying a rebirth.   My research took me to a boat-building yard Parkhol Marine Limited, in Whitby, who has a full order book until 2019. Additionally, the fleet based in North Shields has grown from an all time low of 7 boats to more than 20 today.

I also discovered that the type of fishing has changed from largely cod, haddock and herring to more crustacean fishing for lobsters, crabs and other molluscs. Ironically, much of these are exported to the Far East and the herring, which were once famous in the North East, are imported from Scandinavia.

All images were taken over a period of about two months with a Canon 5D Mk3 and either a 25-104mm or 17 – 40mm lens, with the exception of the boat sailing into port which was a Sigma 120 – 400mm lens. I kept the ISO low at 100 and all were hand held. I would have preferred to use a tripod in the boat-building yard but because of the space available this option was not possible. This does not appear to have affected the clarity or focus of the images. I have taken a series of shots documenting the “death” and “rebirth” of the industry with a mixture of detailed and wider shots.

Most of the shots were taken during the day in the summer months.  This has given them a uniform style of mainly, bright skies.  Had I taken them at sunrise or sunset they would have taken on a different quality and maybe rendered them more interesting.  However, for the boatyard shots and the fishing shots I was dependent on the time of others and the tide.

Jo Spence Study Visit

The visit took place at the Stills Gallery in Edinburgh, led by tutor Wendy McMurdo.   Wendy had arranged for gallery director Ben Harman to give a brief introduction to the exhibition.  In the event Ben stayed for most of the morning giving an excellent commentary on the curation and history of Spence’s work.

Before the visit I had done a bit of research on Jo Spence and had formed a kind of affinity with her as a person.  Jo was a political activist and feminist who challenged the “norms” of gender, sexuality, immigration and inequalities in the 1980s.

 

Image result for jo spence: Jo Spence on the front of Spare Rib magazine.

Through her diverse analytical documentary projects including her own struggle with cancer, the exhibition confirms for me what I had perceived in my research.  The exhibition was divided into one of her last works of self-portraiture which includes photo therapy (a technique she developed with Rosy Martin to work through personal issues of sexuality, family and class), her early work in the 1970s  in her Children’s Educational Workshops, developed with collaborator Terry Dennett. and a section entitled “The Polysnappers” which was a collaborative work with fellow students Mary Ann Kennedy, Jane Munro and Charlotte Pembrey called Family, Fantasy and Photography for their degree show. This work has been unseen for 35 years.

Image result for jo spence children's educational work

Children’s Educational Work contact sheet

The exhibition was raw, powerful and impressive.  It was superbly curated and a credit to the gallery for bringing together the work of this important social documentary photographer.  Skye Sherman in her column in The Guardian describes Spence’s work, “As raw as a scraped shin”  and I think this sums it up perfectly for me.  It hurts, makes us feel uncomfortable and sorry (for ourselves and maybe for others too).

 

Image result for jo spence dis-ease

Spence using plastic skeleton’s in a humerous way in her Final Project  series

My affinity with Spence began by recognising in her many of the women I knew in the 80s who were also challenging the accepted norms and stereotypes in society.  As a social science graduate  of the 1990s, I also identified with the struggle to challenge those norms documented in the exhibition.  I was particularly looking forward to the Children’s Educational Workshops she led.

It was in fact The Polysnappers that really stood out for me a pictorial documentary using both original photographs of Spence and her fellow students alongside contemporary newspaper cuttings and advertisements.  In this post-feminism era this work is important in reminding us how far life has changed for women and those with different sexual persuasions but reminds us how things have remained very much the same for many sections of society.  Although, some things may have changed it is important that we remember how things used to be and how things haven’t changed much e.g. for the young, those who are disadvantaged and living in challenging circumstances, and immigrants.  Many of the topics depicted in Family, Fantasy and Photography can still be seen making headlines in todays newspapers.

untitled-shoot-001untitled-shoot-002untitled-shoot-006 untitled-shoot-008untitled-shoot-010

 

 

untitled-shoot-012

In my view this work should not be lost and should be on permanent display somewhere.

Exercise 5.2

Select an image by any photographer of your choice and take a photograph in response to it. You can respond in any way you like to the whole image or to just a part of it, but you must make explicit in your notes what it is that you’re responding to. Is it a stylistic device such as John Davies’ high viewpoint, or Chris Steele Perkins’ juxtapositions? Is it the location, or the subject? Is it an idea, such as the decisive moment? Add the original photograph together with your response to your learning log. Which of the three types of information discussed by Barrett provides the context in this case? Take your time over writing your response because you’ll submit the relevant part of your learning log as part of Assignment Five.

In the paper “Photographs and Contexts”, Terry Barrett introduces us to visual communication theory by quoting Roland Barthes who was a leading structuralism thinker in the 20th century, and who drew on the science of the way signs behave in society, particularly the arbitrariness of signs within communication systems[1].

Barrett quotes Roland Barthes’  http://www.arts.uwaterloo.ca/~raha/700_701_web/BarthesLO/intro.html (Accessed 14.09.2016)  point of how the context of a photograph is related to its “channel of transmission” (and a point of reception). In his theory of visual communication, using press photography as the analogy, Barthes adds that even if the original context of a photograph is, for example the couple drinking wine in a French cafe as in the Doisneau photo, it is also dependent not only on the photographer, but the journalist who chooses the photo, those who put it into context in the publication and those who give it a title. Following these variants the point of reception i.e. the reader of the publication then interprets the meaning of the photo. In this case three different channels of transmission change the original context of the shot, depending which publication and context it is viewed in. When a) it is used by a campaigning group to warn of the dangers of alcohol, b) it is used by a scandal sheet, this time with a by line leading the viewer to be shocked by prostitution on the Champs Elysee or c) when it was viewed in its original publication Le Point. There is a further interpretation of this same shot when it was presented as art in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and lastly it was published in a book by the museum where the curator suggests that the photo is one of potential seduction and from my interpretation of this adding certain eroticism.

So, to take us back to the Barrett paper the internal context does not really change. The environment of the café with the couple drinking wine is still present. However, if we then apply a conceptual framework as an aid to interpret photographs other considerations come into play and may be applied in an order or randomly. Commonalities including, selectivity, instantaneity and credibility may help us with deciding the cohesion of the shot. The contextual considerations as described by Barrett of internal, external and original will give information within the shot, information surrounding the shot and information about the making, evidence and meaning of the shot leading to a conclusion for the viewer.

On reviewing my own photographs for this assignment I came across a shot I’d taken of a sign when practicing with depth of field. At the time the original context was depth of field practice and the sign was a useful tool to practice with. However, since the referendum on leaving the European Union the context surrounding the shot has changed.

macro-33-of-34

 

My focus point was the word EUROPE with the surrounding words out of focus. The words above Europe include the English Channel, Southampton and other place names in England all out of focus and suggesting (now) a distance between Europe and England.

In my research for this exercise I came across the work of Ray Carofano  http://carofano.com/about-ray/.  I was particularly attracted to the desolation and beauty of his Broken Dreams and Riverrun portfolios. I discovered that all shots were captured using a cheap plastic camera called a Holga. The Holga’s plastic lens renders the centre of the image sharp with the sharpness falling off at the edges. He then uses a very complex darkroom editing process, using very expensive equipment. I was intrigued whether or not this technique could be replicated using a DSLR and Lightroom or Photoshop post production editing.

I am not yet competent using Photoshop or Loghtroom and know that there is a way of reducing sharpness by selecting parts of the shot. However, I did not master the technique for this exercise. I did manage to produce a soft focus effect by reducing the contrast and I applied a sepia filter in Lightroom. Many of his shots have a dark vignette at the edges and I applied one to my shot. Although, not a direct comparison to the Carofano technique I was quite pleased with the outcome of the style I had achieved.

 

http://carofano.com/portfolio/broken-dreams/ (Accessed 03.09.2016)

The original context of Broken Dreams is the rundown and decline of buildings (usually in the Mojave Desert) the given date lets us know that the original context is modern. As it is presented as part of a portfolio in similar style this is also part of the original context. As part of a portfolio and exhibition, the internal context is in the style that leads us to believe it is an old picture of an area in decline and allows us to imagine what the scene may have been like in it’s useful life. The external or environmental context suggests an area in decline.

baud-station-1-of-1-2My response, Baud Station, Brittany, 2016.

In my response to Carofano, I was drawn to the subject of decline but also the style in which the shot was presented. Within the limitations of not having access to the equipment used to produce the effect of the Broken Dreams series. The original context my shot is of a station and a factory (an agricultural cooperative) in which I wanted to demonstrate the decline in the French economic system. By using a post editing process in response to the Carofano photo, I did not want to present this as a “real representation” of the station but wanted to present it as a more artistic or romantic shot (original context). The station was in use from the early 20th century until the beginning of the 21st century for both passenger and commercial use (internal context). From the weeds on the line it can be seen that the station is no longer in use but although it is not clear, the factory still is (the external context).

 

 

 

[1] http://www.terrybarrettosu.com/pdfs/B_PhotAndCont_97.pdf (accessed 14.09.2016)

Exercise 5.1: The Distance Between Us

Use your camera as a measuring device. This doesn’t refer to the distance scale on the focus ring(!). Rather, find a subject that you have an empathy with and take a sequence of shots to ‘explore the distance between you’. Add the sequence to your learning log, indicating which is your ‘select’ – your best shot. When you review the set to decide upon a ‘select’, don’t evaluate the shots just according to the idea you had when you took the photographs; instead evaluate it by what you discover within the frame. 

 

For this exercise I visited Alnwick Garden. Situated within the grounds of Alnwick Castle, and is part of the Duke of Northumberland’s Estate.  The Duchess of Northumberland created it in 2001, from an original garden by Capability Brown which had fallen into disrepair. The garden is a series of formal gardens with complex planting and formal structures.  As a keen gardener the distance between my dream garden and this vast area of cultivated land is immense.  I was interested in the combination of planting and structural designs.  The elaborate fountains are integrated into the planting plan and provide an interactive opportunity for visitors.

I found myself drawn to the structures in the garden, some of them created with the plants themselves.  This was unexpected as I had imagined that I would be taking lots of shots of flowers and plants.

Alnwick Garden (3 of 11)

I took this image because I liked the leading line and the enclosed pathway created by the arched beech tunnel.  I am wondering what lies behind the bend in the pathway in this shot.  I had not expected there to be lighting in the tunnel, seen here below the white box on the left hand side, because the garden is only open during daylight hours.  This left me wondering why?

Alnwick Garden (1 of 11)

The garden is famous for its water features, and many of them are purely decorative.  I was drawn to those which had curtains of water falling from a flat surface and once again, found myself wondering what was behind the screen of water and wanting to get behind it, hiding, looking out onto those passing by.  I took several shots of this type of fountain and in particular liked the line of the fountain rim showing what appears to be a gentle fall of water but which was in fact a massive amount of water, creating quite a lot of noise.  Again, an unexpected find, as I assumed that the use of water in a garden was to provide a more relaxing type of noise

Alnwick Garden (10 of 11)

Even within the formal flower gardens there is structure to the design and structures within the design.  These enormous vases are an example, and the contrast between the peach roses and the blue delphiniums both in colour and size was an interesting discovery.  The vases are built-in with unique stone slabs which host an array of colours complementing the flowers.  Who made these solely decorative and extravagant pieces of art?  Although I had visited the garden previously, I had not noticed the vases (my photographs show that they were there), and I realised that gardens can provide a surprise for visitors and viewers.

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Alnwick Garden (5 of 11)

Because of the size of the garden the scale of the structures within it are also very large and I was drawn to this monkey because of his face (one of three), holding up and enormous urn .  I couldn’t decide if he was laughing or trying to scare people away.  Although, the garden is only 15 years old the patina on the urn was well established and it looked like it had been there for hundreds of years, which made me wonder if it had been an original included in the Capability Brown design.

Alnwick Garden (6 of 11)

In this cropped shot the flatness of the water provided a lovely mirror to catch the reflections of passers-by.  The feature was in a circle of enclosed planting which meant it was impossible to capture the people and their reflections.  I initially rejected this shot but really like the effect and decided to crop it to lose the torso of the people, but left in the structure on the right which is a reflection of the fountain in another enclosure.  I was tempted to turn the shot on its head to replicate a mirror but decided to leave it because it creates a mystery about the people and why they might have been there.

Alnwick Garden (4 of 11)

The garden is also famous for its enormous Treehouse restaurant.  I was disappointed not to be able to get a decent view of the Treehouse because of the foliage growth around it.  However, down a track behind it I found a series of walkways and rope bridges, built just for fun for visitors to enjoy when visiting the restaurant and cafe within the building.  The tower gives an idea of the scale of the building.

Alnwick Garden (8 of 11)

Although, technically this isn’t a great shot, I wanted to demonstrate the way the structures provide interaction for  the public.  On a previous visit the day was hot and sunny and the fountains were full of children fully clothed which was surprising.  I don’t think I would have allowed my children to dive in and out of water fountains when they were small but it appears with the development of this type of water feature around the country it is more acceptable than 30 years ago.

Alnwick Garden (7 of 11)

Just before I visited the garden on this occasion I had been studying Ernst Haas and this is an example of Homage to his photography.  I asked the girl in the previous shot to swirl the water so that the ripples were coming toward me but it didn’t really work so I created the ripples myself. The now previously flat surface of the water is disturbed but still creating a sense of calm.  This is perhaps the way I might describe how I felt about the garden.

Alnwick Garden (9 of 11)

 

One of the streams leading to the main fountain is stone bottomed which provides a lovely surface for the water to bubble and tumble over.  Like all of the structures they have been carefully created to provide interest.  Some are straight, and some like this one are gently curved.  In contrast to the fountains with the flat surfaces this creates a sense of excitement and left me wondering where it was going and what I was going to find when I got to the source at the end of it.

Alnwick Garden (11 of 11)

My selection.   In terms of the brief of the exercise all paths and streams lead to this point.  The Grand Cascade.  Here I am waiting for the fountains to start and I have distanced myself from it and the other viewers.  I am behind a bank of plants and the other people are unaware of my presence.  They are all getting on with their own thoughts about the garden.  The man in the mid ground is pushing a wheelchair and talking to the person in it, the person behind the central yellow flower had their arms folded.  What are they saying to the person almost completely hidden behind the plants?   There is a woman in the central ground with her arm on the back of a child. In front of them is a couple, one sitting and one standing, and then the  child in the centre at the bottom of the cascade is standing with her hand to her face, waiting in anticipation for the spectacle.

All in all the distance between me (the photographer) and these shots has surprised me.  From the scale of the garden, the clever designs using structure and planting that I would never have considered, through the discovery of the many paths, tunnels (including a bamboo maze) leading me to another surprise, of the distance between me, there for the purpose of taking shots for this course and all of the other visitors, there for their own reasons.  A very revealing exercise for me.