In order to formulate an approach to Assignment 1, I’ve decided to create a Research Proposal. This will help me to clarify the scope of the assignment and to keep me on track when it comes to creating the images. It will also help to contextualise the assignment.
Title: This is the Flitch Way…..
This is a working title and any changes to it will be documented. Both sets of images will have the same title, as they are 2 sides of the same story. I have considered giving each set a different subtitle, but instead will allow the images to speak for themselves. I have chosen a title which makes a statement, so that the viewer is informed that what follows is “real”. After viewing the set, the viewer is then free to make up their own mind as to whether the statement is a positive or negative one.
Topic or theme:
The assignment brief that I am working to can be found here. It is my intention to use photography to document two different sides of the Flitch Way, which is route that runs from Bishops Stortford to Braintree (approx 16 miles) along what used to be a steam railway line. (see here for a map and more info).
The route brings a lot of joy to walkers, cylists and horse riders. It is largely traffic free, very scenic, rural and peaceful. It also runs through Great Notley Country Park, and has a visitor Centre/Cafe located at what used to be Rayne Station. However, there are sources of frustration. Because the route is largely rural, but with good access and transport links, Fly-tipping is a big problem. Underpasses which run under the M11 and A120 are heavily graffitied and are popular hangouts for large groups of youths which often intimidate local residents or users of the route. A travellers site, owned by Essex County Council sits along the route near Little Dunmow. Here, horses and dogs owned by the travellers are often found roaming freely, causing a hazard to dog’s and children, and again there is often intimidation. Just this week, I was attacked by a group of travellers, for taking photographs in close proximity to their site. Essentially, I intend to create a positive set of images, and a negative set of images.
I see this assignment developing quite well. I’m keen to get underway, although this will probably be after Xmas now. The weather will play a big part in the final look of the images. For the “positive” set, I envisage warm tones, with rays of sunlight breaking through leaves. Unfortunately, it’s winter and the trees are bare, so there will have to be some creative flex there. Instead, I may look to capture rolling fog on a frosty morning. As the assignment progresses and ideas shift, I will attempt to record this in my learning (b)log.
Who is the audience
At the moment I see the audience being the general public. In the first instance, this assignment will be seen by my tutor and fellow students, but in terms of context, I see the images situated in 2 different camps:
- The first set of images (the good side) will hopefully be worthy of inclusion on a visitors information leaflet (like this) or website such as this. To work, the context must fit. The images must be created in such a way as they denote/connote happiness, pleasure, etc and this is where I will be most critical in developing the images.
- The second set of images (the bad side), I see being published in the local newspaper (The Dunmow Broadcast), or being used as documentary evidence to help raise awareness of the issues which plague the route and its users. In order to capture the readers attention, the images must be interesting, and should be capable of telling the story themselves, perhaps with only some assistance from a caption or supplementary text.
At present, I see all of the images being shot in colour, but this may change subject to how the assignment develops. Although each image will be a part of a set, I want each photograph to be able to stand alone as an illustration of its particular set.
Approach and methods
I have decided to approach this assignment in 6 stages:
- Recce – Firstly, I’m going to cycle the route, identifying the areas and specific subjects that I think will show the Flitch Way in its Best and Worst lights.
- Image planning – From the Recce, I will plan out each of the images that I intend to take, which will include possible compositions, exposure times, lighting requirements etc, although I’m conscious that these still need to be candid and taken from real life.
- Research through practice – I will revisit the pre-identified areas to take the shots that were planned. I will then look for areas of improvement. I may also submit the images to student forums for peer-review/critique.
- Final Shooting – Based on the points identified at stage 3, I will re-shoot images as required.
- Image selection – From contact sheets, the final set of 10-14 images will be selected (5-7 per set), processed and printed.
- Submission – Images will be submitted to my tutor and may also be submitted to other agencies – see below.
I will experiment with images taken at different times of the day as the lighting may lend itself better to one particular set of images. Likewise, bright hard sunlight and shadows may suit some images better than soft diffused light due to heavy cloud.
Research will be conducted in a number of ways:
- By travelling the route to get a feel first-hand for both sides of the story, which I then intend to convey.
- Through local news – looking specifically at issues regarding the Flitch Way.
- Through tourist information – what brings people to the Flitch Way?
- Research through practice/continual development.
Access to the route is unrestricted. Certain attractions, such as the Country Park and the Visitor Centre have specific opening times which will be looked at.
The visitor centre may have specific rules governing photography which will be discussed with staff in person, but the remainder of the route is public.
My biggest concern is using my camera in close proximity to the travellers site and the underpasses, which may not be welcomed despite the land being public. I will always respect peoples wishes if they do not want to be photographed, but these people have a complete lack of rationality.
The completion of this assignment will be dependant on a number of factors, such as the Weather, Christmas plans, and Childcare options. Although this is very loose timetable, I hope to have the assignment complete by 5 Jan 15, as this is when I go back to work.
Proposed research references
- A fellow student recently had images published in a local newspaper which has inspired me to raise awareness via the local press – http://www.theforestreview.co.uk/News.cfm?id=18432&headline=Air
- Local News – http://www.dunmowbroadcast.co.uk/home
- The friends of the Flitch Way – http://www.friends-of-the-flitch-way.org.uk