It’s been quiet on the blog of late. I’ve been reworking assignments 2-5 and writing summary posts for assessment. They are still tucked up in Drafts at the moment. I also need to write reflective posts on Assignment 5, Part 5 and the entire course, and all of this is coinciding with the school summer holiday.
Assignments 2 through 5 were straightforward to rework. I agreed with my tutor’s comments and it is simply a case of implementing them. Assignment 1 was harder. It was the square mile one, featuring my daughter in her square mile, which because she was 8, was my square mile too. Except a year on, she has more of an opinion in how and where she’s photographed, and what she wears when I’m photographing her. Bang went my tutor’s suggestion of an Alice themed wardrobe. Bang went pretty much everything really. We gave the rework a go, and it didn’t work. No magic, just a scowling child. I discussed this with my tutor who suggested simply refreshing the edit from my archive. The archive isn’t that good though. I know that this is the “calibration” assignment, the one that doesn’t count, but the more I looked at it the more I felt that as it was it didn’t really say much about my approach to work, my willingness to rework to make it better, and how I like to work and what I like to photograph. I started to think about completely redoing the work with a different subject.
The first idea was photographing tins of peaches in different shops in the square mile. We’ll never know how well that would work (well we might I suppose if I ever have to do Square mile again). Then I looked again at the blue ribbons tied on street furniture in Devizes, for Charlie Gard. They met my preference for photographing multiple instances of the same thing, the same but different. They showed how a social media campaign can manifest itself physical in a small town many miles from the issue that it highlights. They represent transience – the ribbons won’t be there for good – and show how the symbolism has changed from a sign of awareness and hope to a memorial. The ribbons, shiny and new not so long ago are being ripped, tampered with, worn and dirty. Yet they are still there, as much a part of my daily landscape as the shops, the streetlights, the bollards, the phone boxes and the post boxes. They reminded me of the pregnancy tests that I photographed for A3 with the pale blue lines denoting life. They reminded me of the miscarriages that I documented on my Foundation course – and the Foundling hospital brass tokens set into the pavement near by, making loss tangible.
So I went into town last Friday evening, on an evening that had that stormy light, with my 50mm prime lens and a fresh battery. I walked around the car parks, the roads, the pedestrian alleys, and I photographed all the ribbons I saw. There are too many to include in their entirety but the contact sheets are below. I photographed close in and far out. I wondered about context versus detail. I put a selection onto the OCA critique board and considered the responses that people were kind enough to post.
Here’s my first draft set. This set will be edited slightly before submission, but not by much.