5.2.1 Diaries from the Edge: Aldeburgh 2009 – 2021

!! Revisits my photography and illustration from Aldeburgh:

  1. Aldeburgh Diaries 2020 – 2021: New Body of work during the COVID pandemic and Brexit decisions in December 2020 through to March 2021. Based on sketchbook work and Moving Image.
  2. Tales from the Edge: a reworking of my Illustration diaries from June 2017 in the light of these subsequent events as After Effects animation/moving image.
  3. Aldeburgh Great Escape: reworking of the carnival series, hopefully getting feedback and new photographs from post-COVID Aldeburgh festivals and carnivals in 2021. To include sketchbook work and photography. Possibly moving image.
  4. Pointing also to further future possibilities in printmaking/book design for the tourist market.

Aldeburgh revisited: Assignment 2.2 Shutterscapes

The first set of photographs I chose were from Aldeburgh. Aldeburgh is only 1-2 hours by car from Cambridge and a favourite place for short holidays and day trips in winter. In many ways it sums up quintessential ‘Englishness’ with a mix of the ‘genteel’ with more raucous beer drinking and day-tripping from nearby towns and London escapees.

Aldeburgh had been the subject of a number of earlier projects for Illustration courses:

  • Illustration 2 Project 2.1 and 2.2 Sketching on Location
  • Illustration 2 Project 4.3 Paper Circus
  • Illustration 2 Assignment 4 ‘On the Edge’

Aldeburgh had been the subject of a number of earlier projects for Illustration courses:

  • Illustration 2 Project 2.1 and 2.2 Sketching on Location
  • Illustration 2 Project 4.3 Paper Circus
  • Illustration 2 Assignment 4 ‘On the Edge’

I was not happy with most of my sketches or work for these first two projects. ‘On the Edge’ had focused on experimentation with the iPad and produced some imaginative work that I may take forward in Assignment 5 or later. But it lacked any narrative coherence.

For Assignment 2.2 Shutterscapes I chose the photo series, not only for a more light-hearted approach to ‘Englishness’, but also a way of starting to explore approaches to narrative. Working with colour and lightness was an uplifting change from my normal preference for the ‘black and edgy’ from Assignment 2.1 Bridge.

The photographs themselves offered different technical challenges :

  • Photo series 1 Carnival Procession were the only images taken with my Canon DSLR and therefore the easiest to edit for colourful effect.
  • Photo series 2 ‘Aldeburgh Great Escape’ were taken with my iPad Pro and were reasonably good quality, but needed a lot of adjustment for jpg artifacting and colour correction.
  • Photo series 3 ‘Aldeburgh Morning Light’ were even more challenging because they were taken on an old iPhone and therefore needed a lot of work in Photoshop.

I also used these series as a way of experimenting (somewhat unsuccessfully) with the Lightroom slideshow module as well as the book module I had used before.

Shutterscapes revisited

I am aiming to photograph more events of this type, but with a clearer focus on ‘English quirkiness’ inspired by Martin Parr. I would also like to do a more documentary work on Aldeburgh around issues of diversity – Aldeburgh is a disability-friendly place and the numbers of older people and people with disabilities is noticeable. There are also an increasing number of people from ethnic minorities. But I would need some time to do this sensitively as I feel uncomfortable/unethical being too intrusive as a photographer.

  • I revisit the photographs in the light of my work on photographic creativity and colour photography approaches developed in Assignment 4.
  • I revisit the slideshows using Adobe Premiere

1: The carnival procession

The carnival series were the only images taken with my Canon DSLR as RAW images and therefore the easiest to edit for colourful effect. The photos were taken from among a crowd of people lining the street as the basis for illustration rather than as photographs in themselves. They were taken with a telephoto zoom lens and at some distance and when cropped in became too small/soft for Shutterstock requirements.

With these very colourful images I was aiming at a Martin Parr saturated style. I processed them in Lightroom only, experimenting with tonal and colour settings and sharpening and noise reduction.

The images on the right were selected and sent to Shutterstock as the most interesting for content and – my first images submitted – they were all accepted.

2: The Great Aldeburgh Escape

This series was taken with my iPad Pro as back up reference to pencil and ink sketches in my sketchbook. Nevertheless, some of the photos were large enough file size and of sufficiently good quality to edit in Lightroom for Shutterstock.

I started by selecting single image narratives that could stand in their own right as photos to submit to Shutterstock. I then ordered them to make a narrative sequence, trying to do simple captions (not the long descriptive ones required by Shutterstock).

I then experimented with Lightroom slideshow module. Looking at different narrative considerations in different formats in terms of length and sequencing. This is still too long. There is not enough control in Lightroom itself. But useful for very quick slideshows instead of inbuilt Jetpack carousel. It is possible to add the captions, but very limited layout and looked really cheesy. No control over audio. The issue is sequencing, particularly vusally. But limited memory on content. Should the viewer control or not?

And with the Lightroom book module. Here there is much more time. Issue is juxtaposition.

3: Aldeburgh Morning Light

The third series were photos from a morning walk in July 2015. This is the nearest to a ‘flaneur’ treatment. I had just got my first iPhone with something approaching a reasonable camera – I thought. So I set off full of enthusiasm and the new freedom of being able to take photographs without looking too much like a photographer. I also enjoyed experimenting with the square format that was not possible with my normal cameras. Unfortunately when I got back and viewed the pictures on my pc, the quality was not as good as promised in the iPhone adverts.

Slideshow of my iPhone images as shot showing what interested me and different framings.

Nevertheless, with a little processing in Lightroom they do produce a sort of narrative of Aldeburgh early morning light and life.

The square format could also be interesting as a new digital format book printed at a small size – roughly the size below as a mini-book if I could find a printer.

I then experimented with using Photoshop and/or Nik ColorFX filters to produce images that used the grainy and altered colours for artistic effects. The images below were accepted for Shutterstock.