Category Archives: Landscape: The Social and Environmental

The landscape bears witness and carries the scars not only of natural phenomena (water, ice and wind) but also of man’s habitation. This module seeks to look at the role of landscape in photography and question what the landscape represents when scrutinised by photographers and artists alike. Moreover, landscape photography is particularly relevant to contemporary documentary practice, whereby photographers are utilising and including landscapes within stories that study the human condition and or the effects of our presence upon the planet.

Landscape: Social and Environmental – Evaluation

I was excited to start this module after visiting several galleries and exhibitions over the summer, all of which inspired me to start shooting my own work. I’m extremely pleased I started shooting this early on for the project as I felt engaged from the start, whilst my ideas were not finalised it meant that my preliminary proposal was constantly developing, resulting in a strong, well thought out and researched final piece. By choosing to shoot my project at home in Devon also meant that I had a personal connection with my subject, which I have discovered over the years at university results in my best work. Shooting a subject I feel compelled to ‘do justice to’ and can identify with drives me to work hard and continually develop and improve my photography, never wanting to settle for “ok”.

As well as shooting early on in the module, I found that keeping up to date with my online research was a massive help! I much prefer using an online method than a sketchbook, I’ve never really engaged with sketchbooks and feel since working online my work has improved as my ideas have flourished (for rather than last minute cramming ideas down into a sketchbook, I continually blog as the module runs, thus my ideas mature as my research continues!) This module in particular has made me aware how important it is to “copy from the masters”, there is nothing wrong in trying ideas that others have done before – it must have been successful for myself to be copying it! Looking at exhibitions was the best research I did for this module. Over the summer and throughout this module I continually went to look at other photographer’s work and how they displayed their photos. This was invaluable for my personal development and meant that I was constantly visualising how my images would look in exhibition, knowing that was the best way for viewing images.

Having an exhibition as the end goal for this module was great motivation for doing well. I could not hide my work or any errors and if I was not 100% happy with it I would still have to show people it! Therefore, I endeavoured to produce a body of work I was proud of and wanted to show off. With such a large print as the end output size, I knew I could not afford to make any mistakes, at that size its very obvious if something isn’t right. For example the sharpness of the image or accurateness of my re-photography would be the most pronounced mistakes at that size and I would not be able to hide them. This has taught me an invaluable lesson – get it right when shooting. Don’t be sloppy or rush it or lose sight of the end goal, for any slip-ups on location will make post-production far more difficult than it need be. Personally I feel I concentrated more on my re-photography than camera settings, as I did not appreciate how crucial they were when outputting at a large size. In future I cannot afford to focus on one thing more than another, they are all as important as the next and need the utmost level of care and consideration if I want to produce a strong final image. I will take these lessons learnt into my final major project and work beyond university; I’m extremely pleased I have learnt this lesson now and have had the opportunity to experiment and develop in a “safe” environment with only myself as a client.

This module has also taught me how to prepare my images for outputting work at a large scale, not simply how crucial the shooting process is. I have had the opportunity to visit a professional printer’s and see how they operate and now know what is required of me for when I next need work outputted. My laptop has also been calibrated and has The Print Space colour profiles downloaded onto it so I shall not have to go to London next time I want prints. Having said that, I really enjoyed my day there and being able to speak to the professionals whilst editing and preparing for print was extremely useful and interesting – I’m glad I went! I can now also appreciate and get excited by different paper types – a nerdy sentence to say but a truthful one! I had never really acknowledged how much of a difference choosing the right paper for your work can make to the final outcome. Getting a test print on Matt paper and then opting for Pearl paper really highlighted to me the importance of getting the right material for your work, something I would have overlooked or taken for granted before. I have a new found enjoyment from picking paper types now! This module could never have prepared me for the feeling of complete pride as you look at your large final print on high quality materials. The difference of seeing your work on screen to on a wall is enormous – something I had not valued before. This module has taught me that printing your images is fundamental to producing a successful body of work and developing ideas and techniques. An image is for viewing on screen and does not become a photograph until it is printed.

I’m extremely glad that I volunteered to curate this show with one other volunteer (Jordan King). Together we have worked hard to pull this off and make it success for our classmates and ourselves. Organising a group exhibition has been challenging but so rewarding at the same time. I’ve learnt a lot from the experience that shall improve my work (and CV) for I now know more about the process of exhibiting than I ever would have without curating one. I feel that it will now be easier for me to produce work for an exhibition as I know what goes on to make one a success. This experience has also made me realise how much I enjoyed being a curator and shall definitely get involved with our final degree show. Making the catalogue has also taught me a lot about the industry and what information should be available at an exhibition. My InDesign skills have improved and I feel extremely proud of what I have produced, not only of my own work but also seeing everyone else excited at seeing their own work in a printed catalogue.

Overall this module has been invaluable to my own personal development and the lessons I have learnt from it will be carried forward into my photographic life. I’m extremely pleased with my final prints and shall look at continuing this work after university and will enter competitions and gallery shows with it. I could definitely improve it and now know for next time how important the shooting process is and that patience and repetition will result in accurate re-photography, something I did not have enough of this time round! I have never experienced this level of pride in my own work, having shot it, produced it, printed it and then curated it – the entire process has been a rewarding journey that I shall take forward and learn from, constantly improving and developing and above all, enjoying photography and the art of exhibition.

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Exhibition Set Up and Catalogues

This morning Jordan and I collected the classes mounted prints from Squirty Ink and took them up to the gallery where fine art photography met us with their prints also. We then spent the next 2 hours with lecturers Andy and Tony, deciding where each piece of work should go and who’s looked best together etc.

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This was a challenging but enjoyable process, one that I am glad I have experienced with the help of two very knowledgeable photographers alongside! I’m glad it was only Jordan and I there for it would have been extremely stressful having everyone offering their opinions and demands. It was also useful learning how to hang our work and teaching everyone else only meant the technique is now cemented in my head and shall be useful in the future! Having to deal with everyones issues and objections or requests was a huge learning curve that Jordan and I were expecting but could not plan for, its been an extremely beneficial experience! I’m looking forward to seeing the gallery in all its glory Thursday night.

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I designed and made the class catalogue for the show which was also an extremely testing yet beneficial experience. Having a deadline for people to send me their information, images, text etc meant I could collate all the pieces together systematically and to a standard I wanted, but it taught that I have to be firm with people and set strict guidelines that people must follow in order for it to run smoothly. I initially looked on the internet for ideas on how to make a catalogue in InDesign and borrowed ideas from different websites (http://www2.rgu.ac.uk/subj/ats/teachingweb/teaching/t27/t27-3-4a.htm) which kickstarted the process and gave me confidence in what I was doing! A classmate (Les) offered to make an online catalogue which I would include a link to in the hard copy – https://wearepjd.wordpress.com – this worked really well as people could have less guidelines online than in the printed version. I also made a price list for all of our works which felt weird but exciting! A real sense of achievement comes over you as you see your work listed for sale in a gallery!

The class catalogue I designed:

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Accompanying Proposal for Final Work

I am going to document the land usage of the estate (through old photos and my own modern-day pictures) to show the changing uses overtime of the rural land used for leisure, agriculture and environmental purposes.” This is a line taken from my original proposal at the beginning of this module. I have developed my ideas a considerable amount since then, arguably the most development happening with my brackets; (through old photos and my own modern-day pictures). The use of archival images has gone from a secondary idea to the primary feature of the entire project with the combination of modern-day images happening within the same frame rather than a piece of supporting work.

‘Transience’ intended to look at the landscape of memory with an element of loss featuring within the frame – the landscape of loss, the archival images trapped in the past as I document the landscape around them blossoming with age, a constant fabric within society. Ownership doesn’t endure; the landscape is the constant, the fragility of human existence apparent in every re-photograph. By using re-photography, ‘Transience’ aims to highlight how people come and go, each generation sculpting the British landscape to suit their needs and desires, for it only to be changed again once they depart this earth. They are a memory upon a land they once deemed their own, the endurance of the environment emphasising the temporary existence and fragility of humanity.

This project shall be shot at a country estate in Devon seeped in history – Escot Park. The Kennaway family have been shaping the land of the estate for generations to suit the requirements of the day, be it for entertaining the royals, keeping up with fashions, entertaining and impressing guests, making farm produce, accommodating evacuees or in its currents state, open to the public as an award-winning family attraction. Each current owner has had to alter this “natural” environment to accommodate their lifestyle, knowing that the landscape shall endure beyond their years. Yet, for their fleeting existence in this extraordinary environment, they make it their home for as long as they live and leave their mark upon the land.

‘Transience’ alludes to the fragility and temporary existence of human presence on the landscape and the environment’s ability to endure as a constant fabric upon the earth’s surface. As generations come and go, people mould the land to suit their needs and create their own stories upon it, only for them to become a distant memory and later an archival piece of history.

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Exhibition Curator

As one of the two curators of this group exhibition, I have had to not only organise myself, but 17 other people from two different university courses as well as sorting out logistics and timings for the show. I am also creating a paper catalogue for PJD students to give out for free at the exhibition. I took this role on for I felt it would be extremely beneficial to learn these skills before graduating, not to mention looking great on my CV. The role will also give me better understanding of what is required to make a successful show, which I will be able to take forward into my final major project and life after university.

Jordan (second curator) and I delivered everyone’s large prints to be mounted by ‘Squirty Ink’ in Cheltenham and shall be collecting them the morning of the show. I have also been in touch with the university education officer who has put the exhibition on the university website and shall send out to SU staff. So far, this role is teaching me a lot and testing my patience when dealing with a large group of photographers (!) but I am confident my plan in place shall pull through and the exhibition will be a success.

squirtyink

Hi All,

Heres a plan for the exhibition “Hinterland” running for a week from Tuesday 24th Feb. The gallery will be open to the public and manned by students 11am-6pm every day excluding Thursday 26th (opening night) which we are now sharing with Fine Art Photography. Overall there will be 18 people displaying work. Please invite family and friends to the Facebook page ASAP: https://www.facebook.com/events/663301363779684/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

http://gardensgallery.co.uk.109-109-130-53.server20.ourlinuxnetwork.com/how-to-find-us/ <<< a link to where the gallery is

Tuesday 24th – Myself, Jordan and Andy shall pick mounts up from squirty ink 9:30/10am and take them all to the gallery to meet Hannah, Gemma and Tony from fine art. We shall arrange where images will go and need EVERYONE at the gallery at 12 midday SHARP to hang their own prints. We need to have some equipment ready to hang the prints up, Jordan is in the process of finding out exactly what we need! So check your emails again! Victoria Kettlewell to remain till 6pm close. 

Wednesday 25th – Gallery to be manned 11am-2:30pm by Craig Simmonds and Issac Brown then 2:30pm-6pm by Kate Dainton and Iona Berry.

Thursday 26th​ – EVERYONE to meet at the gallery at 9:30am SHARP with all prints/blog/cover sheets etc for hand in and class critique. All bring £5 with you (cash) to contribute to buying food and drink for the show which Ellie RM (plus help) shall buy from Tesco (remember bin liners, napkins etc). Abbie will see if her boyfriend can get us glasses to use, if not we shall buy plastic ones from Tesco. Everyone shall spend the day making the exhibition look professional (with 10×8 prints on display etc) in time for the show opening at 5pm running until 8:30pm (please note later time to suit fine art photography).ALL MUST BE AVAILABLE FOR ENTIRE DAY. Dress smartly for the evening and please remember that we all need to stay to help tidy up at the end.

Friday 27th – Fine Art Photography meeting for their critique. Alex Cicric to man until 6pm close. 

Saturday 28th – Gallery to be manned 11am-2:30pm by Les Curle and Hannah Buckley then 2:30pm-6pm by Phil Ryan and Ellie Reed-Mumford (Ellie arriving at 3pm).

Sunday 1st – Gallery to be manned 11am-2:30pm by Claire Carpenter and Victoria Roberts then 2:30pm-6pm by Abbie Dosell and Conor Pitchers.

Monday 2nd – Gallery to be manned 11am-2:30pm by Ellie Roberts and Lauren Bridges then 2:30pm-6pm by Olivia Kennaway and Jordan King. From 6:05pm you may come and remove prints if you CANNOT make Tuesday morning. Please let myself or Jordan know if you will be doing this.

Tuesday 3rd – EVERYONE to arrive at 10am to take down prints and clear gallery. Keys to be handed back.

What to do now

– ​Check you have sent 3 images (between 2-3MB) to myself with a bio explaining your work in no more than 80 words by Sunday night latest (Sorry Craig please may you cut yours down). Andy and Gemma/Tony shall be writing introductions for the catalogue (Fine Art Photography shall be included also) and I shall be sending out a PDF proof on Monday. It is YOUR responsibility to check that your images, name, number and bio etc are correct, I shall not be responsible for them after print. 

– Everyone send your one MAIN image and bio to Les for the online catalogue. Image to be 72dpi and 1000 pixels on the longest edge.

– Email your full name to Kate plus the title of your work.

– As suggested by Fine Art Photography, we are having a price list for all works on display. Please send me the price you would like your piece to be listed as. Remember to cover your cost and list for slightly higher than you would sell for, this will give you some “haggling” room to reduce to without loosing money if someone is interested.

– Invite people to the opening night and promote the show for the entire week it is running.

Hope I’ve covered everything! Any issues/questions get in touch. 

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‘Transience’

‘Transience’ alludes to the fragility and temporary existence of human presence on the landscape and the environment’s ability to endure as a constant fabric upon the earth’s surface. As generations come and go, people mold the land to suit their needs and create their own stories upon it, only for them to become a distant memory and later an archival piece of history. ​

The Meet, 1950

The Meet, 1950

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10×8 Prints

Now that I had my final print safely rolled in a print tube, I could focus on my smaller prints and which to output for final submission. I made them all 10 inches on their longest side and constrained the proportions on photoshop which meant my shortest sides were 6.623 inches rather than 8″. I therefore decided to make them smaller and add a 10×8 white border around so’s to have them all at the desired size. However the border did not look right and simply didn’t work, with one edge larger than another, it looked unbalanced and amateur and not how I liked so I decided I would simply have my prints smaller by 2 inches but aesthetically pleasing. With all 20 images correctly sized I then had to make my edit.

I decided not to have ‘Image 17’ in my selection as did not want repetition as I felt this would take away from the series as an entirety. I wanted every image to offer something knew into the viewers understanding of the past. I also decided that as I was dealing with a landscape module I wanted to have my final images in the classic and traditional format of landscape. My landscape images incidentally were also stronger than most of the portrait ones and so I felt for the purposes of continuity, presentation and flow I would keep all of them the same, no one image distracting from another. I then removed the landscape images that did not have people in them for that too would break the flow (excluding my opening image which I shall come too!) and also removed a landscape image that was very similar to another one for it did not add anything new to the series.

As mentioned I have included one image, my opening image to the series, that does not have people in. The opening image is of ‘Escot House’, the setting for or directly linked to, all of my photographs. The archival image also has Escot House written on it which I feel is string opening for “setting the scene”. It also clearly shows what my project is about, looking into the history of this English country home and comparing its modern self to image of it a hundred years ago or there about. The image would not be appropriate within the collection however it is a strong opening shot that I believe is the perfect way to start my photography’s visual story.

I chose my closing image to be one looking down into the private garden of the house for it feels fitting to start looking at the house from the outside and finishing in the very heart of the home looking down. I feel the sequence I have chosen flows well and heightens the impact of the work, each image complimenting the next. It takes the viewer on a journey that I have guided them through, yet allows for personal reflection and opinion to develop whilst observing the work.

I chose to print my final 14 images on the same paper as my final print (Hahnemuhle Pearl) from the Print Space, for I did not want to loose any of the texture in them. Whilst this cost me a large sum and far more than it would have from The Dark Room, I felt this was an investment that I needed and wanted to make. The images will now reflect my work at the highest standard available and convey the archival yet modern feel I wanted them to give, it seemed pointless to me to lure viewers in with an impressive large print, only to disappoint them with the rest of my images – I wanted them to be held by my work and appreciate the quality of it. This also means I will be able to use my images for further exhibitions, portfolio reviews and competitions at short notice which is essential to stay ahead of the game.

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A Trip to The Print Space

I decided that for my final print, I wanted to physically go to the print space and do the process on site. First off they calibrated my laptop screen which has matched my screen colours to the printed colours available. The guy also told me that when I’m editing my photos to have my laptop brightness 4 stops under full brightness as this is the most similar to the printed product. He then downloaded all of the print space colour profiles to my laptop which meant I could convert on photoshop my images for specific paper types. He reminded me to always click “Convert Profile” once I’ve changed profiles else it won’t actually load properly and NEVER click on “Assign Profile”. I got a test strip done on the Matt paper at full size.

When it came out I wasn’t 100% happy with it, the archival photo wasn’t standing out enough, with all its textures lost into the paper, it just didn’t feel or look right and had lost some of its character. Already I was pleased I had actually gone to London and seen this rather than order it online, for there would not have been time or the advice immediately available to me as there was in store. The guys working there looked at it with me and suggested I use Hahnemuhle Pearl to retain that thick texture I was now missing with the Matt paper. I wanted an archival quality to my modern print and Pearl offered me this unlike the Matt. It was really beneficial being able to speak to people about the paper quality, types, advantages etc there and then, which relaxed me and made the process enjoyable and smooth. I decided to use the pearl paper and converted my PSD file to the correct profile then submitted my final image for print.

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