As I mentioned in a prior post, I have concerns that the project I have been pursuing for the past year and had hoped to take into FMP is looking less and less suitable for that purpose due to delays in the development decision. While there was always a risk the development would not be approved, I didn’t view that as a problem initially as I saw the project at the outset as a natural history focused endeavour. A year of taking photographs at the site has informed me that even a full two-year span is insufficient to truly reveal dramatic enough change from a natural history (repeat photography) perspective to create a story that would garner much interest. Consequently, my approach to the project evolved through each term and moved away from a purely natural history project to one that considered how the land was, is and could be used in the future. If the development is not approved, then there is not much of a story beyond that which I have already captured.
Had the development been approved as originally planned in June of 2018, the anthropogenic changes would have been well underway, and they would have been nearing completion as I approached the end of FMP. The current timetable would not see the development complete (if it is approved) until 2021 at the earliest. I intend to continue work on the project, but I need to consider alternatives for FMP and I intend to use the Informing Contexts module to explore possibilities.
I have been compiling a list of possible projects for some time as things to do after the MA and as I had time during the MA course. These ideas align with my interests and passions and are consistent with the description of my practice as my understanding of it has evolved. However, none of the ideas are fully developed and some are less so than others. Among the candidates under consideration are the following which is comprehensive, but by no means exhaustive.
Last May I published a book based on a short-term project completed as part of Surfaces and Strategies. That book, 19 Sutherland Bridges, focused on a very few of the many interesting and beautiful bridges in the north of Scotland. Bridges connect people and places and they are, for the most part, taken for granted by the many people that use them each day. Many people have no idea what those spans look like except from the roadway they traverse. I took a different perspective to show the bridges and how those structures connected what stood on either side of the span to show them in a way many will have never seen despite the fact they used the bridge many times. There are hundreds more bridges in Sutherland; old, new, large, small, pedestrian, rail, road, in disrepair or daily use, each connecting one place to another. This project is achievable in the FMP window and discrete enough to be accomplished.
Following on to my interest in interactions between humans and nature, the significant move to cleaner, renewable energy production has resulted in a proliferation of windmills. While windmills have been used in many countries in many forms for hundreds of years, this new generation of turbines are cropping up offshore, on mountainsides and hilltops, where once the vistas were unhindered and purely natural. While there is no question our planet needs to find alternatives to fossil fuels, cleaner energy, like everything, comes with a price. This project would explore from a neutral perspective, like Burtynsky, the landscapes and seascapes that have the mark of human activity imposed upon them. Once again, this project is manageable in scope and could be accomplished in an FMP.
Fly Fishing in the Highlands
Fly fishing for salmon and trout in the Highlands of Scotland is important as both a pastime for many and as an economic source for some. In keeping with my interest of how people interact with nature, and as one who enjoys fly fishing, I see this project having possibilities along the lines of David Chancellor’s work. Capturing the dynamic world of fly fishing in the beautiful settings in which it takes place perhaps along with stories of the ghillies and fisherman interests me as a project and is again one with manageable scope and achievable as an FMP.
I plan to further research and explore these ideas during this module and experiment with some locations and methods of approaching each in order to test their viability as projects and visual interest as subjects. I see each in my mind’s eye, but I will need to determine if I can translate that vision into meaningful work.