2: Edit and Amend: Landscapes of Place

Assignment 2 ‘Edit and Amend: Landscapes of Place’

‘Landscapes of Place’ continues my interest in documentary as multi-layered experiences of place where ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ elements interact. I explore photography-based communication :

  • photography as the basis for printmaking: photoprint, photolithography, extended to cyanotypes, solar plate, scraperboard and other print media in Part 5.
  • ways of processing photographic images to convey moods and social messages

The two parts of the assignment were done in parallel:

  • 2.1 Bridge produce a series of photoscreen prints that continue my interest in the idea of ‘edgelands’ – places where rural and urban meet and populations mix and also fragility of coastlines and abstraction.
  • 2.2 Shutterscapes revisits photography series from East Anglia and Northern England, particularly images that were shot on older compact cameras and iPhones and are of lower technical quality.

Drawing on my more autobiographical work in Visual Communications, are the effects of my own subjective feelings and ‘Voice’ on the ways that I select and represent what I see:

  • what to photograph: types of terrain, what is and what is out, who is in and who is out of the frame.
  • how to photograph: format, composition and visual dynamics how these alter the meaning of the image.

I start to bring my visual communications work together with conceptual and technical insights from an OCA personal development course on Landscape Photography. My work on that course questioned ‘picturesque’ approaches to landscape photography, raising questions about politics and identities of place and how these are communicated.and how different treatments of the same places may vary to give very different ‘landscapes’.

Assignment 2.1 Edit: Bridge uses images of the A14 Road Bridge across the River Cam where I walk every day to revisit a natural landscape lithograph print produced for Printmaking 2 Natural Landscapes .

The project extends this earlier work across a number of dimensions:

  • thematically/Voice placing landscape printmaking in the context of the literature on psycho-geography and Edgelands drawing on socio-political landscape photography work (using different images) looking at identities and change on the River Cam: Grassy Corner and Bench on my Landscape Photography blog.
  • technically through significantly developing my photo-based printmaking (specifically photoscreen and duotone processing in Photoshop).
  • creatively through looking at the different visual messages conveyed for the same image in different media, and how exploration of a range of media can inspire new approaches and styles in other media.

These were revisited with new prints in other printmaking media in:

Project 5.1.1 Bridge Edgelands extends the series of photoscreen prints to include social documentary and wildlife prints that potentially have a local market as eg part of submission to Open Studios.

Assignment 2b Amend: Shutterscapes

This second part of Assignment 2 uses existing and new landscape photograph series from East Anglia, Cornwall and Northern England.

The Assignment 2 project brief explicitly required me to focus on skills development rather than content and meaning. My aim was to start to significantly improve my digital photography editing skills and develop a number of alternative visual communication workflows in different photographic styles in different software. More specifically to:

  • significantly improve my proficiency in different modules of Lightroom : develop module, book module, slideshow module and print module to see what can be achieved through using Lightroom alone
  • explore potential role/s in my digital workflow of of DxOFX (NikFX) filters that I had not tried before.

My selection of images from my very large library of photos of varying quality and content was based partly on their suitability in posing a variety of technical challenges. Some of the images are older and less ‘professional’ low resolution jpg images shot with an iPhone or old compact camera. Others are newer and better considered RAW images shot on a DSLR. The aim was to explore a range of interesting and relevant technical treatments in different software as a more creative way of discovering ‘happy accidents’ as visual communication rather than focusing only on more conventional ‘professional photography’.

Although I am not asked to focus on content or meaning, my discussion of the images and the ways in which I develop them draw on discussions of beauty/sublime, the picturesque and ‘tourist gaze’ in landscape and documentary photography and considers ways in which different styles of digital processing can alter the meanings of the photographic image. In each series I explore a range of possible aesthetic and colour and/or monochrome technique before identifying those that best communicate the ‘spirit of place’, different ways in which human activity has ‘landscaped’ the ‘natural’ environment and my own ‘landscaping’ of what I see.

A further key aim of this assignment was also to start to look at ways of promoting my work, starting with Shutterstock stock image market. Advice from experienced stock photographers is to have a larger number of different types of image – editorial, commercial and also abstract. Rather than – as in higher end photography – to focus on a distinctive style and niche. So an issue in selection of series and images was how far I thought they might be suitable as stock photography rather than their documentary interest. I focused initially on five series of existing and new images from locations in Cambridge, East Anglia and North of England that potentially offered a different ‘aesthetic’, were under-represented on Shutterstock, and which I would be able to revisit and extend in different media for subsequent assignments focusing on content and narrative. Of these three were selected for further development as part of my body of work for this module.

In the course of this assignment I also worked with other series of photographs of East Anglia coast, Cambridge, Cornwall and Lake District. As this is a Visual Communications and not a Photography degree I focus here only on photo series that are further developed in other media in Part 5 of this course. These series, and other photography archives will provide a resource for future work. The other image collections submitted to Shutterstock as a result of this Assignment can be found on:

Zemni Images Shutterstock

I had drafted photobooks from National Trust properties in East Anglia and Cornwall that I had intended for further development in Assignments 4 and/or 5 but are now postponed by travel restrictions during the COVID-19 and consequent difficulties developing content with local communities and required permission from National Trust.

2.2.1 Aldeburgh revisited

focuses on colour, using two series of images (one high resolution RAW and the other poor quality iPhone) originally taken as background reference for sketchbooks of Aldeburgh in Illustration 2. I look at what can be done in Lightroom alone, and how poor quality images can be developed in ColorFX.

In Assignment 5.2.1 Diaries from the Edge I develop these, together with new ‘Lockdown images’ as moving image presentations in Adobe Premiere.

2.2.2 Norfolk by the Sea

Norfolk by the Sea revisits images of seaside towns, landscapes and seascapes that are disappearing with coastal erosion. Many of the cliffs and seaside attractions photographed no longer exist.

In Project 5.1.2 Norfolk by the Sea I develop selected images as a Photobook and Photoscreen and linocut prints

2.2.3 Dark Peak

I start to look at ways of working with low resolution jpg images in Silver FX to produce a series of ‘dark’ evocative images from photographs taken with an old compact camera in 2011.

In Project 5.1.3 Dark Peak: I extend these photographs with new photographs of the Peak District reproduced as black and white scraperboard images and photolithography.

In Project 5.2.2 ‘And Hast Though Slain the Jabberwock?‘ I adapt these photographic styles to Moving Image work from Hagg Wood in the Holme Valley.