Photographer Research – Chrystel Lebas

While Ms. Lebas had been recommended to me earlier on the course and I had looked at her work, I didn’t find it as relevant to what I was doing at the time.  Now, as I move into FMP and the work of prior terms is coming together into a conceptual framework that brings together elements from each of my prior sets of work I find her work especially relevant and directly related to work I am doing.  I am particularly interested in her publications and exhibitions, but also how she has revisited places and used rephotography to show how those landscapes have changed over the intervening years.

Her website is Chrystel Lebas.

I am also interested in how she has incorporated video into her exhibit installations; something I believe is important to mine. Video provides a a perspective and is by its nature immersive, drawing the viewer into scenes they could not otherwise have experienced.

Another interesting element is now that my aesthetic has evolved over the course, I see similarities with much of her work.  When I first looked at it many months ago, I discounted it in part because the aesthetic and way she approached her subject matter was quite different than what I was doing and the way that I was doing it at the time.  Re-examining it now, Lebas’ work bears some commonality with that of Daniel Gustav Cramer with the slightly darker feel that I have evolved to embrace i much of my recent work.  I find it much more evocative and moody, and it encourages the viewer to linger a while in order to really see what is in the photo and feel what is in the scene.

Research – Exhibitions

Over the next week I will be visiting museums and galleries in Rotterdam, Antwerp, Liege and Brussels with an eye toward seeing different ways of exhibiting work that will help to inform the way that I will chose to exhibit my FMP.  I will be looking specifically for effective exhibition strategies, particularly with a series of work that includes a narrative sequence.  I want to see how artists and curators create a visual narrative and to see how much it depends on explanatory or accompanying text, or whether it can also be done without.

As I refine the theme of my FMP and begin to collect the work that will be required, I am also considering how it will be edited, curated and displayed. Among the ideas for my exhibition is a concept published in my FMP proposal and repeated below.

20190620_160330

I look forward to reporting on what I will have seen next week.

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‘Gaze | The Chicago School of Media Theory’. 2019. [online]. Available at: https://lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/mediatheory/keywords/gaze/ [accessed 3 Mar 2019].

‘Jane Austen Believed Beauty Could Come in Every Shape and Size. What Else Can She Teach Us about Wellness? – The Washington Post’. 2019. [online]. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/jane-austen-thought-every-body-was-beautiful-what-else-can-her-works-teach-us-about-wellness/2019/03/08/9787dbda-3eba-11e9-a0d3-1210e58a94cf_story.html?utm_term=.4a08d894ebcb [accessed 18 Mar 2019].

‘Saddleworth — Matthew Murray Photography’. 2019. [online]. Available at: https://www.matthewmurray.co.uk/saddleworth [accessed 25 Mar 2019].

 

Week 10 – Daniel Gustav Cramer Trilogy (2003/2013)

I first encountered Cramer’s work some months back and was taken with it then.  I found it was quite similar in overall character and aesthetic to work I hade begun pursuing in the winter.  It reminded me of the work of Axel Hutte, about whom I had written extensively in past modules.  I also think Cramer’s Trilogy work bears resemblance to that of Risaku Suzuki.    Thomas Struth’s Haptic Green also bears some resemblance the Woodlands portion of Cramer’s Trilogy, but it seems to be much more intensely about colour while Cramer’s work is more about form.

We were asked to comment on the edits Cramer choose and whether we would have done it differently.  I happen to like the photos he included and while some may be stronger than others it is important to have some distinctions.  Also, I am certain those that I might think strong are not necessarily the ones someone else might choose.  And that is I think one o f the key points of Cramer’s work, as well of that of Hutte and Suzuki, that there is no intent to dictate the narrative to the viewer.  The mystery, masking of location and even to an extent subject, force the viewer to engage with the photograph to figure out what it is, where it might be, what is in the frame and what might be just out of the frame.  So, to that end, and because there is no real overall intention to Cramer’s work beyond the three broad categories, the photographs are not intended to hang together in a linear fashion to create a narrative and therefore can be viewed in any order as standalone images, each waiting for the viewer to create their own story.

Darwent noted of Cramer’s work they are “images shot through with story and place, but which demand we ignore both place and story. This is what we are, they say, but what are we?” (Darwent, 2007) Cramer’s images are tantalising, looking familiar and foreign at the same time, clearly of something almost recognisable, but what. He presents the viewer with a puzzle to which the solution will be based in the knowledge and cultural experiences of each viewer.  For example, the underwater photos were to me as a scuba diver immediately recognisable as such, but to someone who had never dived, may have been quite confusing and disorienting.  The woodland photos were likely more familiar territory for many, and I liked how Cramer choose to include a mix of photos, some of which seem to invite the viewer in and others that seemed to want to hold the viewer out.

It is very moody and atmospheric work.  It defies time and place merging both into the space of heady dreams and fantasy.  I wish it had been published as a book as it is one I would enjoy owning.

 

References

DARWENT, Charles. 2007. ‘Weblet Importer’. [online]. Available at: http://danielgustavcramer.com/infotxt.html [accessed 1 Apr 2019].

 

Week 7 – Thoughts on Work to be Accomplished

Following the portfolio critiques of last week and recognising there was interest and possibility in the work I had shown from the glades at Coul Links, I now need to go back and continue that work to capture them in different light and as they change with the coming of Spring.  There are one or two other glades that I will also explore to see if they have sufficient visual interest.  Among the approaches I want to pursue is low light/ night work augmented by flash and/or hand-held lights to see what kind of effects are possible.  I hope to be able to shoot in the rain if it can be done safely.

I also need to reconnoitre the local area for additional Abandonment and Reclamation prospects.  I know of a few already, so I will need to get out and photograph them as soon as possible.  One of the things Cemre picked up on was the way that the lower edge of the buildings in two of my existing photos lined up perfectly across two separate locations.  This is something I need to be mindful of in capture so I leave myself some latitude in post processing to adjust the frame to get similar placement.

Week 2- Forum: Representation or Authentication

Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida wrote “From a phenomenological standpoint, in the Photograph, the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation.”  (Barthes 1981: 89)

The questions posed for this week’s forum were:

  • What Roland Barthes means and whether or not you agree.
  • The difference between ‘authentication’ and ‘representation’.
  • How the context in which we view photographs potentially impacts upon notions of authentication and representation.
  • How this impacts your own practice.

Last week I wrote a fairly lengthy post on Barthes’ Camera Lucida  which can be found at https://chasingthewildlife.blog/2019/02/01/key-writers-roland-barthes-camera-lucida/

I agree with Barthes on this point.  First, Barthes explains;

“I call ‘photographic referent’ not the optionally real thing to which an image or sign refers but the necessarily real thing which has been placed before the lens, and without which there would be no photograph.” “…in Photography I can never deny that the thing has been there. There is a superimposition here: of reality and of the past. And since this constraint exists only for Photography, we must consider it, by reduction, as the very essence, the noeme of Photography. What I intentionalize in a photograph is neither Art nor Communication, it is Reference, which is the founding order of Photography.” “The name of Photography’s noeme will therefore be: ‘That-has-been,’ or again: the Intractable.” (Barthes 1981: 76-77)

 

I believe Barthes notion of ‘intractability’ refers to the authentication of the existence of what was once in front of the lens.  Whether it communicates or is judged to be artistic is in the power of the viewer not the photographer and that is the element of representation.

Flusser speaks of distribution channels and how they affect interpretation (representation).

“The essential thing is that the photograph, with each switch-over to another channel, takes on a new significance…  The distribution apparatuses impregnate the photograph with the decisive significance for its reception.” (Flusser, 1983: 54)

Sontag likewise points out that photographs are mere fragments, and the context in which they are viewed changes them. Each context “…suggests a different use for the photograph but none can secure their meaning- the meaning is the use…”  (Sontag: 1979: 106)

Szarkowski discusses the idea that photography is not successful at narrative and then goes on to refer to Matthew Brady’s work during the Civil War by saying: “The function of these pictures was not to make the story clear, it was to make it real.” (Szarkowski, 1966: 9)  I think this relates to the discussion arguing that these photographs authenticated the horrors of the war; they were in front of the lens and the photographs brought that validation to those who viewed them.  However, how those photos were interpreted, that is what did they represent, would likely be quite different depending on whether one was from the North or the South, whether one fought in the war, or whether someone close was killed in the conflict.

Each of these suggest that representation is conditional upon who is looking and where they are looking.  However, authentication, existence at one time of what was photographed does not change even though interpretations on the significance and meaning of what was photographed will vary with every viewer.

Again Barthes; “…it is not impossible to perceive the photographic signifier, but it requires a secondary action of knowledge or of reflection.” (Barthes, 1981: 5) and “…the Photograph’s essence is to ratify what it represents. … No writing can give me this certainty.  It is the misfortune…of language not to be able to authenticate itself. …but the Photograph is indifferent to all intermediaries: it does not invent; it is authentication itself;…” (Barthes 1981: 85-87)

I have come to terms with the reality that I cannot control how my photographs are ultimately interpreted or judged, especially any single photograph.  I can influence a reading of a body of work to a small degree by how I choose to edit and curate a collection of work and where it is shown, but again the ultimate power to determine what that work represents lies in the hands of each and every consumer.

I am in control of what I photograph and when I photograph.  I am in control over the choices I make during that process and I can only hope that what I think and feel when taking that photograph is somehow revealed in the product in a way that it elicits a similar reaction in a viewer, but those reactions are beyond my control and therefore beyond the bounds of that which I can or should worry over.

References:

FLUSSER, Vilém. 1983. Towards a Philosophy of Photography. English. London: Reaktion Books Ltd.

SONTAG, Susan. 1977. On Photography. Hammondsworth, UK: Penguin Books Ltd.

SZARKOWSKI, John. 1966. The Photographer’s Eye. 7th printi. New York: The Museum of Modern Art.

BARTHES, Roland. 1981. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill and Wang.

Key Writers – Roland Barthes: Camera Lucida

I have heard some of fellow students ask; “What relevance does Barthes have?” and I confess to feeling the same way when I first began to read him during Positions and Practice.  It is easy to be put off by his esoteric language and the occasional diversionary tactic and to get hung up on a couple of his ideas that in the end, in my opinion, have nothing really to do with essential relevance of Barthes. I have just finished carefully and thoughtfully re-reading Camera Lucida, taking lots of notes and trying to sift through Barthes’ philosophical, rambling musings and to distil to the essence what was most important and relevant to me as a photographer.

I think it is important first to understand the question Barthes sets out to answer, and the perspective from which Barthes approaches the question.  Barthes intent is to identify what about Photography is its distinguishing feature, and he, as a non-photographer, can only approach the problem from the perspective of the consumer, or in his term the Spectator’s point of view.  The virtual entirety of his treatise and exploration is based on peeling back the layers to determine what is it about a photograph that in Walter Benjamin’s term “stirs a tiny spark of contingency” (Benjamin 1931: 510) and why.

It is easy to get distracted by Barthes’ regular referrals to Death.  Death seems to me a red herring as there are other places where he seems to offer counter arguments.  “Every photograph is a certificate of presence” (1981: 87) “…it is still mortal, like a living organism.” (Barthes 1981: 93)    It would be just as easy to argue the photograph is proof of life.  In the end the discussion of death doesn’t make or break what is important about ­Camera Lucida.

The majority of photographs in the world are banal and they pass before our eyes as if we never saw them, ephemeral enough so as to appear non-existent.  “I see photographs everywhere, like everyone else, nowadays; they come from the world to me, without my asking; they are only ‘images, their mode of appearance is heterogeneous. Yet, among those which have been selected, evaluated, approved, collected in albums or magazines and which had thereby passed through the filter of culture, I realized that some provoked tiny jubilations, as if they referred to a still center, and erotic or lacerating value buried in myself; …and that others, on the contrary, were so indifferent to me that by dint of seeing them multiply, …I felt a kind of aversion toward them…” (Barthes 1981: 16)  ’“The principle of adventure allows me to make Photography exist. Conversely, without adventure, no photograph.” (Barthes 1981: 19) “Many photographs are, alas, inert under my gaze.” (Barthes 1981: 27) We are subjected to an ever-increasing amount of visual media and I think few would disagree with the idea that much of what is produced remains unseen to any individual and much of what is seen by that individual passes by quite unnoticed.  Barthes asks what is it that causes a photograph to be noticed?

A small number of the world’s photographs catch the interest of some viewers, enough to hold their gaze and perhaps to even remember something about the photo.  “…in these photographs I can, of course, take a kind of general interest, one that is even stirred sometimes, but in regard to them my emotion requires the rational intermediary of an ethical and political culture.  …it is studium, which doesn’t mean, at least immediately, ‘study,’ but application to a thing, taste for someone, a kind of general, enthusiastic commitment, of course, without special acuity.” (Barthes 1981: 26) “…for culture, (from which the studium derives) is a contract arrived at between creators and consumers.” (Barthes 1981: 28)  Studium, is the characteristic of the photo that cause one’s gaze to linger and to engage with the photograph.  This, by the way, will be a completely different set of photographs from one individual to the next.

A very precious few of the world’s photographs will have something more, a detail generally unintentional and often not on the primary subject itself that expands for that viewer the photograph into something more than its studium reveals.  This is the prick, the wound, the punctum that makes that photograph for that viewer more meaningful and unforgettable. “The studium is always coded, the punctum is not.” “What I can name cannot prick me. The incapacity to name is a good symptom of disturbance.” (Barthes 1981: 51) “Very often the Punctum is a ‘detail,” i.e., a partial object.” (Barthes 1981: 43) “However lightning-like it may be, the punctum has, more or less potentially, a power of expansion…which makes me add something to the photograph.” (Barthes 1981: 45) “Hence the detail which interests me is not, or at least is not strictly, intentional, and probably must not be so; it occurs in the field of the photographed thing like a supplement that is at once inevitable and delightful…” (Barthes 1981: 47)

Excellent examples for me of both studium and punctum are pieces from Nick Brandt’s work, Inherit the Dust. There is an immediate tension which the viewer must decode about what is out of place in this photo.  The conclusion will be drawn based on the ethical, political, and cultural proclivities of the viewer.  While this may not ‘wound’ someone else, these are photos that grab me by the heart, photos I can never un-see, photos I will never forget.  The counterpoint of the resting giraffe expelled from this place by the diggers whose profile mimics that of the giraffe to make way for a quarry is undeniably poignant.

Brandt Inherit the Dust
Nick Brandt

And finally, Barthes concludes that what distinguishes Photography from other forms of visual media is the intractability between the photograph and the referent.  “I call ‘photographic referent’ not the optionally real thing to which an image or sign refers but the necessarily real thing which has been placed before the lens, and without which there would be no photograph.” “…in Photography I can never deny that the thing has been there. There is a superimposition here: of reality and of the past. And since this constraint exists only for Photography, we must consider it, by reduction, as the very essence, the noeme of Photography. What I intentionalize in a photograph is neither Art nor Communication, it is Reference, which is the founding order of Photography.” “The name of Photography’s noeme will therefore be: ‘That-has-been,’ or again: the Intractable.” (Barthes 1981: 76-77) Whether it communicates or is judged to be artistic is in the power of the viewer not the photographer.  And so quite contrary to Barthes earlier assertion that Photography represented Death, he is saying here that instead it represents proof of existence in a way no other form, painting, sculpting, or writing can.  It is the single most unique characteristic of Photography.

The noeme, That-has-been, leads Barthes to one final significant conclusion and it is here again that I think he argues against himself on the idea of the photograph being death. He states: “I now know that there exists another punctum than the detail.  This new punctum, which is no longer of form but of intensity, is Time, the lacerating emphasis of the noeme (’that-has-been), its pure representation.”  (Barthes 1981: 96) Time is the pure representation of what has been, and in this punctum can lie in the knowledge that something has happened before or will happen in the future. This says to me that Barthes herein abandons the certainty that the photograph is death, because in that model there could be no future that is implied in the punctum.  A particularly effective example of this element of punctum is September 11, 2001 photograph by Richard Drew of the Falling Man.

Richard Drew Falling man
Richard Drew 2001

There is the punctum of the detail in this photograph, the perfect alignment of the axes of the body and the building and the bisection of the light and dark.  There is also the punctum of time, the certainty of the man having come from somewhere above, and the certainty of what will occur at the bottom of his fall.

In conclusion, it is clear that as a photographer, I am not in control of who likes or dislikes, or notices or ignores my work, judges it as art or whether it communicates, as that is in the hands of the viewer.  We photograph and by doing so provide irrefutable evidence that something existed at a point in time, a reference to that which has been. Studium and punctum are not purely concrete but can be loosely translated into that which makes one think and that which makes one feel when looking at a photograph, but neither can be forced into a photograph by the photographer, and a photograph will carry different effects to its viewers depending on their personal and cultural biases.  We can only, as photographers, photograph those things that make us think and feel with the hope the resulting photograph will elicit similar reactions in others.  And, as we edit and curate our work, we can be sensitive to the intended audience’s cultural predispositions and use that knowledge to influence our selections.  These are the things I find as the essence of Barthes Camera Lucida and its universal relevance to photographers.

References:

BARTHES, Roland. 1981. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill and Wang.

BENJAMIN, Walter. 1931. Selected Writings 2, Part 2 1931-1934. Edited by G. Eiland, H., Jennings, M.W., and Smith. Cambridge, MA and London: Belknap Press.

Week One Activity – Informing Contexts

Practice and Intent

At the outset of this course of study, I was not sure how to categorise myself as a photographer or where my practice fit.  I entered the course on the basis of my wildlife work, which while important to me, didn’t fully represent either who I was nor who I wanted to be as a photographer.  After three terms, I can say with confidence that I am a documentary photographer whose practice is based out of doors.  My subject matter generally ranges between wildlife and natural history, landscape (natural and cultural), and human activities relating to animals or the outdoors and sport.  These all derive from my fundamental intent as a photographer to use my camera as a tool to capture things I see and find of interest, and to be able to share them with others who may not have had the opportunity to see those things, or for whom those things were otherwise unseen or unnoticed.

While I always endeavour to make visually interesting and aesthetically pleasing photographs, I do not consider myself a ‘fine art’ photographer and instead hope to render what I see as realistically as I can because I believe there is more than enough inherent interest and beauty in the world around us and that additional manipulations and contrivances are not necessary. It is very much for me, first and foremost, about ‘the thing itself’.

Critical Contextualisation

I recently posted a rather extensive article on Szarkowski and The Photographer’s Eye which can be found at https://chasingthewildlife.blog/2019/01/17/john-szarkowski-the-photographers-eye/ , that goes into some detail about how it fits my view of the current state of my practice and my evolution as a photographer.  However, to summarise, Szarkowski’s five interdependent elements that serve as the basis for how we as photographer’s take photographs, and how consumers of the work can view and judge that work serve to inform my way of making work.  In each of the sub-genres under the broad umbrella of Documentary photography in which I work The Thing Itself, Detail, Frame, Time and Vantage Point factor into every photograph I take.

While it is undeniably true that Szarkowski was very much an adherent to and proponent for Modernism, I believe these five principles largely stand up to the test of varied genres and “schools” of photographic practice.  They are both specific and general enough, and due to their avowed interdependence, to be applied with subtly shifting balances between the elements so as to be broadly applicable across the universe of photography.

That have been said, Stephen Shore in his book, The Nature of Photographs, to a degree builds from Szarkowski, but adds a couple of new and interesting elements worthy of further consideration.  Shore begins with an intention similar to that of Szarkowski.

“The aim of this book then is…to describe physical and formal attributes of a photographic print that form the tools a photographer uses to define and interpret that content.” (Shore 2007: 12)

“This book is an investigation of what photographs look like, and of why they look that way.  It is concerned with photographic style and with photographic tradition: with the sense of possibilities that a photographer today takes to his work.” (Szarkowski 1966: 6)

Shore posits that “A photograph can be viewed on several levels. To begin with, it is a physical object, a print.  On this print is an image, an illusion of a window on the world.  It is on this level that we usually read a picture and discover its content:… Embedded in this level is another that contains signals to our mind’s perceptual apparatus.  It gives ‘spin’ to what the image depicts and how it is organized.” (Shore 2007: 10) He calls these levels the Physical, Depictive and Mental levels respectively.

At the Physical Level Shore points out, “The physical qualities of the print determine some of the visual qualities of the image.” (2007: 16)  It occurred to me that on the one hand of course this is obvious, but then again as much of our distribution and sharing of images these days is electronic (virtual prints) it isn’t really at the forefront of my mind until it comes time to prepare an exhibition or mount a print for sale.  It matters a great deal to the final product on which paper, not only type but manufacturer, it is printed and by what process it is printed and by whom it is printed and whether the post processing platform was colour calibrated and matched to the print platform.  This has to date not been a particularly significant issue, but it stands to become one moving on to FMP and whatever form the final product takes.

In the Depictive Level Shore again borrows from Szarkowski by suggesting the photographer “imposes order on a scene” by “choosing a vantage point, choosing a frame, choosing a moment of exposure, and by selecting a plane of focus.” (Shore 2007: 37)  (Szarkowski’s Vantage Point, Frame, Time and Detail.)  When Szarkowski referred to detail he was speaking more about the narrative capacity of photography, but when he said, “The photographer could not assemble these clues into a coherent narrative, he could only isolate the fragment, document it, and by doing so claim for it some special significance.” (Szarkowski 1966: 8)  I do not believe it is a stretch to interpret isolating a fragment and granting it significance as an allusion to focal plane.  That is precisely what we do as photographers when we decide how to capture a scene.  We choose what is most important and that is where we focus.

Shore, like many writers before him including Szarkowski make the mistake of considering the photographic world three-dimensional when in fact it is four-dimensional.  True enough the photographic image is essentially two-dimensional, but it is representation of a four-dimensional scene and as such it is always an illusion and never the truth.

“The world is three-dimensional; a photographic image is two-dimensional.” “The picture plane is a field upon which the lens’s image is projected. A photographic image can rest on this picture plane and, at the same time, contain an illusion of deep space.”  (Shore 2007: 40)

Shore’s Mental Level seems to be the subjective counterpart to the objectivity of the Depictive.  The Depictive was more about the mechanics of depiction and the detail of what was depicted.  The Mental Level is about reading the photograph, assessing its meaning and significance.  It depends on both the Physical and Depictive, for without them there is nothing use as the basis for the mental image.  I think again in this way Shore is essentially reiterating Szarkowski’s view that his five elements are interdependent, and it is necessary to consider all in judging/ understanding a photograph.

There are strong similarities and parallels between Szarkowski and Shore, and while they may use slightly different wording, they are illuminating fundamentally the same concepts.  Shore’s use of photographs and a little more parsing of the elements provides a complementary perspective to Szarkowski.  As I stated in the linked article and briefly above I consider most of my work to be aligned with Szarkowski’s Modernist approach and as Shore is in my view quite generally consistent with that line of thinking I can see myself spending more time looking a re-looking at Shore’s examples as a means to continue to improve my ability to see and read photographs.

 

References

SZARKOWSKI, John. 1966. The Photographer’s Eye. 7th printi. New York: The Museum of Modern Art.

SHORE, Stephen. 2007. The Nature of Photographs. 2018th edn. London and New York: Phaidon Press.

 

 

The Path Forward – Charting a Course toward FMP

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.

Bridges

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.

Windmills

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.