This week’s second exercise involved pairing up with a classmate and devising a brief for each other that should take no more than a couple of hours to complete. I paired with Simon Johnsen. I provided Simon with the following brief:
I am interested in places over time and my major project is about that mainly. For your brief, I would like see what you do with this concept and would like you to pick a place in your village that has either a distinct change in appearance or activity level through the course of a day. Pick a perspective you find most interesting and photograph that place at different times of day and or night in the course of one day, or over several days as you can fit it in. Prepare a small series of at least 3, and as many more as you wish or have time for, showing how that place changes in time.
Simon provided me with the following brief:
I want to see how you adapt to a loss of control so I want a set of 12 shots, you have to pick a starting point, walk in any direction for 5 minutes, stop and take a photo and then carry on walking, you have to make the shots as diverse as possible but try to create a narrative through the series.
I was pleased to get this brief and a bit intimidated at the same time. I know I have rarely gone into a photo shoot with a prescribed outcome let alone an outcome that included a cogent and cohesive narrative. I wrestled for a couple of days about where I would go to enable me to capture diverse images and be able to put them together in a narrative while being constrained to having to move a particular amount of time between images. One of my classmates (who shall remain unnamed) I could find a place I liked, walk around in a circle for 5 minutes and take another photo and that it would meet the letter of the brief. True enough perhaps, but I thought it didn’t meet the spirit, and I was looking forward to the challenge of doing something other than nature photography and trying to tell a story.
I choose to go to a town about 30 minutes away from my home that I knew had a concentration of visually interesting places in reasonable proximity to each other. It is also a town with a rich historical background and which is known for at least two very prominent affiliations; horses and atomic energy. Aiken since it’s founding has always been about horses. Founded by railroad men, it became known as the Aiken Winter Colony and the wealthy, primarily from the North East, came with their horses to enjoy the temperate weather. Currently, there are 72 different equestrian disciplines being trained in the Aiken area. Even though for this project I chose not to focus on it, the second area for which Aiken is known in the Savannah River Site, which is home to a nuclear power plant, but more significantly was one of the principal nuclear weapon design and production facilities throughout the Cold War.
While I have been to Aiken many times, and was generally familiar with the town, this project took me to specific places I had not been before. It turned out to be a journey of discovery for me too and I hope I have been able to reflect it in the work I produced. It is entitled, 5 Minutes to Somewhere, and here is the link where it can be found.