5.1.2: Orford, Suffolk

Orford in Suffolk, East Anglia is a very old town surrounded by Orford marshes, dependent partly on the fishing industry. Orford Ness – reached by ferry – is a very unstable spit of land and shingle with unique wildlife, currently under threat of disappearing into the sea. It used to be a defence and nuclear weapons research place and is still linked to the nuclear industry. As a National Trust property with EU funding, it has been developed as a popular day trip destination.

Orford is ‘on the edge’ in a number of ways:

  • the extreme vulnerability to the encroachment of the sea has halved the land originally occupied by Orford Marshes and Orford Ness – currently generally held at bay with barriers and groynes, but threatened in the longer term by global warming.
  • Orford Ness was an important national defence site during World War 1 and 2. More recently it has housed a nuclear weapons research facility.
  • there are serious tensions in relation to Brexit between the local hard Brexiteer fishing industry and the more EU-supporting tourist industry and environmental agencies.

Orford Quay and Orford Ness

!!project in process exploring narrative options as on-line gallery, photobook and slideshow.

I have produced the first draft of a colour photobook: A Very British Day Out on Orford Quay and Ness uploaded to Adobe cloud.


See: Orford in Colour – unfortunately the pdf is converted to single page view by Worpdress. To see spread layout – for juxtapositions and meaning – download pdf and open in Acrobat with view set to 2 page.

My first set of photos of Orford Quay have been accepted as editorial stock images on Shutterstock: SeeShutterstock: Orford Quay

This set of photographs of Orford Ness is currently being developed, but need permission from National Trust to publish commercially.

I also started to work on coloured and black and white photographs of the National Trust nature reserve at Orford Ness that continues the theme of ‘Tourism of Decay’ and drafted two potential narrative series for further development as photo books and/or on-line slideshows in Assignment 5:

  • Orford Ness Black and White: a photobook of images exploring Black and White effects in SilverFX and produced in Lightroom inspired by urbex photographers, ‘late photography’ and work of Chinese and Japanese landscape photographers
  • A Great British Day Out: a Martin Parr-style documentary photobook bringing together photographs around Britishness and Brexit processed and produced in Lightroom

The series explore a range of moods and approaches to develop my photographic communication skills. In particular different ways of processing processing in Lightroom and NikFX suite of software and different forms of narrative presentation in SMUGmug and Adobe Lightroom: web galleries, screen slideshows and books.

Although the works vary in mood – some ostensibly happy – there remains an underlying ‘edginess’. In going further I want to explore some of the tensions between:

!! Project in process exploring digital black and white processing to produce a visual narrative of Orford Ness as a slide show and Photobook. This still needs a lot of work. Getting the amount of detail and tones to work together as a professional stylistically coherent series is a challenge, and I need to think through the narrative more. Probably adding some more photos. I also need to get permission from National Trust for non-personal use.

  • Photographer and subject: the photographer as voyeur ‘shooting’ images of
    issues and themes that are not necessarily the same as the subjects of the photo.
  • Is the image showing how things are, or how the photographer want things to be? or how the audience wants to see them? Selective editing and erasure (eg cars and rubbish bins)
  • Different focus and viewpoint – is the photographer directing the image or leaving interpretation open?
  • Present, past and future – places change over time – even over a few seconds – short term, long term, historical perspective and layers – the past is always present but maybe the message is for the future.
  • Exploration and deepening understanding of tensions and contradiction of reality over time

But before going further I need to apply for a professional photographer’s permit from the National Trust before I can publish or distribute commercially eg on Shutterstock or photography websites.