In this the third week of the course we have been asked to consider the changes in photographic technology and the resulting emergence of what has become known as the “Citizen Journalist”. An additional meme we have asked to contemplate is the societal view as to what a Photo Journalist is.
I attended three conferences this week
This session was organised by Jesse as a Module / year level tutorial meeting during the day time on Monday for the 1st Year MA Photo Student that started in September to ask questions about the course.
Unfortunately, only Jesse and my self where there. Because it was just the two of use I had the chance to ask Jesse a bit more about himself and the course. Of course, this also gave me a chance to explain and talk to Jesse as to my own photography and aims and ambitions.
Following on from our general chat as we waited in vain for others to join us I was able to talk though an idea I had about a major project and to ask about the deliverables for Position and Practice.
I am a Landscape Photographer with an interest in history and how over time the landscape is used, changed, reformed and eventually abandoned.
This interest in Landscape, History and my own Royal Air Force background lead me in the past to undertake two related projects one within my Foundation Degree, the second as part of my BA Top Up.
In my first project I undertook a photographic study of the remains of former RAF Airfields close to myself. The trigger for this project as the closure of RAF Cottesmore as a RAF airfield following the scrapping of the GR9/9A Harrier. I spent two years as part of the design Team on the GR9/9A Harrier and with its withdraw from service we saw the closure of the last RAF base of a peek of 19 in Leicestershire and Rutland. Some of the bases have simply gone in that they have been built over. Other bases still exist in a derelict state, where as some others have been handed over to the army.
My project consisted of research into what was where etc.. and photographing the various sites. I produced a final report that I would class as a CRJ and exhibited 10 images
During my BA Top up I was required to produce a photobook. For mine I chose Project Emily.
In the 1960’s the UK had twenty Nuclear Ballistic Missile Launch Sites. Each site had three Thor missiles on its own launch pad. The arrangement was such that the RAF own the missiles and the USA owned the nuclear warheads fitted to the missiles – a so called “Duel Key” arrangement. Some of these launch sites where within 50m of public roads and protected by a simple fence and RAF Police !!!!
Any way at the end of the 60’s sanity returned and the missiles where sent or sold back to the USA and the bases where shut down.
My photobook discussed the project and was made up of historic images along with my own that showed sites that had been completely cleared along with those with remaining infrastructure.
In taking on the MA I knew I would have to do a major project. I have two primary themes I guess, one that builds on my earlier major projects and another that’s totally different.
I live close to a company called Cooke Optics who make lenses for high end movie cameras. I also have a son that works for Caterpillar on their main production site in Desford that makes Backhoes, Diggers etc…
The concept would be to approach either / both of these companies and produce an image set based on the production, parts and assembly of one of the objects that they build.
The idea may be would be say a Front, Side and Top view of the item as sectioned or explode in a single maximum sized JPEG image. In other words, three of four 65,536 x 65,536 pixel images.
Okay this goes back to my earlier projects in that the intent is to produce a project that shows a landscape impacted and changed by man ideally abandoned.
My 1st thought and trigger comes from when I was 16 years old and stayed at a Youth Hostel in Greens Norton. This building as I found out was built in WWII as accommodation for the women’s land army. It was converted and used as a Prisoner of War Camp and housed mainly Italian prisons captured in the desert.
Over the years I came across a preserved POW camp called Edem Camp near Pickering that is now aa museum. In 2014 when visiting the Orkney Islands I came across the remains of another POW camp that was used to house Italian Prisoners. In this camp one of the Nissen Huts had been converted into a Roman Catholic Chapel.
My project based on this theme would be called “Banged Up Abroad”. This title is taken from a Sky TV program in which mainly UK citizens had been jailed overseas. My project reverses this theme.
Since initially looking at this as a concept I found that there are two or three former POW within 3 miles of where I live.
The POW camps along with those used to house our own military that where built during the war where mainly constructed of prefabricated buildings on a concrete base.
At the end of the war and owing to a general shortage of building materials from the camps was sold and the sites cleared. This means that a lot of the sites have simply disappeared. Some have been built over and some have simply been level and grass has grown even over the bases etc…
We had a guest lecture from Sissel Thastum in which she explained some of her motivations and showed us a number of images mainly consisting of black and white photos shot in Scandinavia.
The images shown where I would describe as a mix of Personal and Environmental. The main form of the images was that of 35mm low res, high grain, poor focus black and white scanned. All I can say is that most of the images worked!
This video conference concerned the usage of the library and online resources available to Falmouth Flex Students.
Okay I joined the group tutorial with Stella. I managed to log in and join 1st time and was up and running at the start of the session.
This session simply did not go as well as the past two sessions as some hoe it seemed to be missing a apark that was there on the previous two Fridays.
During this session I shows four of the images I had shoot this week.
As I keep saying I am mainly a landscape photographer and its autumn. Therefore, I am trying to get out and shoot autumn colours. This week I ended up 1st of all at a pick your own pumpkin farm followed by an arboretum. Though these two location I produced and showed four “Fruits of Autumn” images. Stella was tactful but not impressed. I could have like one of the other students just show examples of my best previous work and get a well done. But I have to comment that the whole point I thought was that unless it was a specific example we should be showing relevant and current work shoot that week ?
My aim as I have previously said is to work with a landscape that although a location may not change what we can see feel and experience within a same location can train. Plats including trees produce fruit and seeds. These grow, are distrusted by some means, then either germinate or die. They are landscape, they are here now but will change soon.
Okay, this follows on or Is the same as Fridays Web conference…
I had intended to return to Smithland Woods in Leicester but owing to a family commitment I ended up taking my mother to east Midlands airport. On my way home, I stopped off at a Pick Your Own Pumpkin Farm followed by a Nursery and Arboretum.
I have included a lazy contact sheet a screen grab showing what I have been up to…
As I say it’s the theme I am working on or with of the changing landscape …
Okay, I do not think I have much to say on this regarding the work of the other students, other than to say that I say we should be show casing current work and ideas.
I do though have some thing to say on this weeks guest lecture.
The week as it began was with a series of video presentations by Jesse on the Photographer and “Citizen Journalist”.
I have as per the assignment submitted a comment on the subject as required on Dashboard.
Photography and Technology have gone hand in hand since the process was invented.
Early cameras where large and used Glass Plate Negatives that had to be prepared just before use and developed as soon as possible after the image was taken. These cameras started as a rich mand hobby before evolving into commercial and studio photography. This equipment was far from portable and the reproduction and distribution of the original image was limited.
Technology in the form of chemistry allowed for the introduction and sale of pre-prepared initially glass and then single sheet film negatives. This lead to if you will the affordability by the middle class of cameras and photography during the early part of the twentieth century. Now not only did the camera become more readily available but as print technology evolved we start to see the addition all be it of high contrasts images in newspapers.
With news papers being able to include images along with their stories they began to employ staff photographers who where sent to cover events, incidents and everything.
The introduction of roll film by Kodak within the Box Browne enabled anyone and everyone to take more and more photos at a lower cost.
The next technology breakthrough was NOT in photography, it was in telecommunication with the introduction of the analogue like scanner – basically the forerunner of the fax machine. This mean that a news paper could send a photographer to a specific place or posting. Images could now be shot scanned and printed and sold on the street in a matter of hours.
Again the next steps are those of technology with the introduction of the Digital Camera, the home computer, printer, internet and then the mobile photo. Finally these three items where fused into a single device namely a hand held computer that you can use to take photo’s and distribute and publish any where in the world in seconds. Oddly enough you can even some times use these devices as a telephone.
So, I do not believe in the “Citizen Journalist” as such, what I do believe is in societal changes along with technology and cost has enable every one to have a camera and the means to disturbed images at minim cost. Now instead of sending a staff photographer to cover the aftermath of an event that is “News Worthy” we can get photos taken by people there at the time. Photo Journalist are still out there earning a living be for them the job has changed in that they can now only realistically cover events that are about to happen. A Photo Journalist now that tries to submit a image of the aftermath of an event that was already captured by people that just happened to be there at the time simply will NOT be paid.
An article that I have scanned from the 06Oct18 edition of Armature Photography I think sums up the set theme for this week.
Final Comment - As to my own project and which way to go…. T B D