My strongest work in Assignment 2.2 Shutterscapes were the Aldeburgh Carnival photos with the focus on ‘English quirkiness’ and colour style inspired by Martin Parr. I was not able to do new photographs because continuing COVID uncertainties meant the 2020 and 2021 Carnival and other events were cancelled.
Shutterscapes II: Carnival Days brings the earlier 2017 photographs together as two reportage Photo Essays re-processed and re-framed to best represent different aspects of the carnival, sometimes humorous and sometimes intense. These images are now poignantly nostalgic, looking back at a time of freedom before ‘carnival was cancelled’, a time when mask-wearing in public was a quaint oriental habit and social distancing was anti-social. From a time when the future of the pandemic is still uncertain.
Experimenting with square and also other alternative formats is a very useful exercise I found, even if for some images I go back to the original – and maybe clarify some of the focus and contrast to achieve a new meaning or emphasis.
The work for this module is all part of an anticipated long term connection with Aldeburgh. Early 2022 I intend to send my work on the Carnival to the Carnival committee and see if they give any feedback on what is now something of a historic/nostalgic set of pictures. Once it is again COVID-safe to visit – possibly not until late 2021 because of the crowds once things open up again – I plan to discuss my work with some of the bookshops.
For high resolution of selected images see galleries on my SMUGUG Portfolio site:
1: Carnival Colour: Aldeburgh 2017
As well as the gallery and sales on Shutterstock from Assignment 2.2 Shutterscapes, I submitted first and final images to Cambridge Camera Club to see it they were suitable for the exhibition. But people thought that although they were good for documentary – life, confusion and coloured chaos being the essence of carnival – they were too busy for Exhibition photographs.
The first image of the women with dogs they thought too confusing – the humorous chaos of being pulled in different directions by dogs and shouting being the point of the photo as documentary.
The final image of the woman with the charity bucket they thought was problematic because the streamers were in front of the woman’s face. It would have been difficult to take a photograph without the streamers without disturbing the scene through moving in closer and/or asking her to pose.
2: Carnival People: Aldeburgh 2017
As I was going through editing the colour images I thought I would see how they might look in black and white. I was quite surprised how different things looked. Very busy images were often simplified, and the focus was very much on peoples’ expressions and emotions rather than being drowned in colour.
I am also interested in black and white because it makes people look more anonymous. The images are not like the portraits they take on their phones. So potentially less ethically sensitive?
Carnival squared – the square crops have a much closer and intense focus. They make me think even more carefully what to leave in and what to leave out. My preconceptions were disrupted by the different format and I often noticed new things that I did not see before.
I think there is potentially an interesting Photobook. Inspired by Shirley Baker’s work on the North of England and Bruce Gilden’s bold flash street photography of New York. But looking at the draft below again after a break, I think the photographs are too small on the page, and I need to think a lot more about layout with much less frame, and varying the layout as in Assignment 5.2.1 Bridge.Carnival_BW_coverspreads