One of the strongest images from the series to date, the photographs are becoming complete and my time is becoming occupied with the ideas for presentation. This is a battle as I am working with small objects which have a very specific medium aesthetic, feel and quality. To reproduce seems almost against the idea of the photographs as object but then the reproductions create a highly interesting and arresting image. The deliberation is ongoing and un decided. In this scan you can see the slight pink coloring that the scan has, this is from the chemical formula of the paper.
After experimenting with the color photographs of the places I was visiting with the large format paper negatives I feel both the approach and output are two different for them to work together in a series. They may work as a complimentary second project but not as part of the series, the positive paper negatives are following a very specific traditional pathway currently and do not need other images to reduce their presence or poignance.
It is back to shooting more black and white and experimenting and deliberating ways of displaying them.
Walking from Sandwich bay along the beach towards the mouth of the river, the sea collects objects which wash around the shoreline and are deposited above the high-water marks where it stays. The colors which fade over time but continue to stand out amongst the muted natural tones. I like the ambiguous narratives which can be connected with them by the audience, a multiple of back stories can be applied. I am interested in how removing the objects from the found environment can change the narratives and power placed upon them within the photograph. Removing an item from its original environment and placing it within the studio or different space shows an effort asserted by the photographer and invites the audience to ask why. The images below show an act of physically lifting the object out of the space and raising it above, changing the viewpoint from looking down to looking up again creates powerful connotations.
Please click to see uncropped versions.
I shot the color images on a poor quality color film, Agfa 200 from pound land is nothing to be desired but it is affordable. I regret not shooting them on my usual kodak Portra or some black and white. A quick edit shows how they would look in B&W, although I would prefer a less contrasty neg with less grain, so would shoot on a 100 I think they have a nice quality. It is difficult however as they will loose their interesting faded color which holds a lot of the information within the narrative. I will re-shoot objects throughout my trip along the river and see how it relays to the audience. I think it is important to remain productive in creating lots of work and explore different mediums but consider how they fit aesthetically with original Direct Positive Paper Negs.
35mm Agfa color 200 film shot, scanned and cropped 5x4. Colour really depicts the feel of the time, it instantly adds an autumnal feel to the work. As a document of the river and its uses I like the way it represents the river and can add an interesting element to the overall project. The film however is not what I want to use and so I will explore different film types and speeds. This being 200 was slow on an overcast winters day so I might explore the use of higher ISO films.
I also want to be more pro-active in finding these pictures and would like the boat coming towards the camera...
Feedback and notes form my tutorial with Rob and Natalie:
A timelessness, no references to time, look at visual references from the late 1800's and think about using them in my own work.
Old photograph books, research conventions.
Professional practice, how am I going to market myself, could I sell them?
Shoot 10x8, use the uni money to get more d/p paper.
Create an audience, twitter, blogging, get them ready for when its finished
Don't accept that it is a single output, explore other mediums, formats, films.
Exhibition could have a sculpture, water, driftwood,
Need to nail the exposure
Bracket exposure for a set of shots
Lightmeter reading may be inaccurate, use a base exposure and expand.
Can I build a darkroom/travelling darkroom/darkroom boat?
Explore with a 35mm camera and take photographs, then re-visit with 5x4 when found the shots
Take some found objects into the studio (process exercise) what does it say? What am I doing?
How does the process relate to the image making
How does the process relate to Pegwell Bay
Make some portraits
Find some stories
Look for some narratives
Explore further up river
Today I re-visited Pegwell and started converting the Shipyard of Sunken dreams onto 5x4 direct positive paper. I had difficulties with the exposure and the light meter readings became troublesome. Afterwards, seeing the results and some thought I realized that there is more than a stops difference between 30s and 60s which is where most of these exposures lay. I have also developed a further understanding of the exposure that a white print is an underexposed image and not overexposure.
I have also begun looking at the details at Pegwell Bay, I am keen on developing the project towards a more dynamic series. I don't want to be looking across peg well bay in the landscapes and creating a topographical representation, I want to secure a more arresting reaction from the audiences. By pointing the camera down and looking at the smaller nuances the audience gets to feel involved, feel part of, be part of the landscape and for me the project is as much about me experiences the environment and relaying that within the project.
This photograph is the most inspiring from the day, ignoring the technical issues from poor development and exposure from some of the images, this pushes me to keep making these photographs. Continuing to look down at the scene and experiment with some other subjects.
There is a section of the Sandwich Guildhall Museum that has photographs of the river and Quays with a date range from the 1870s to the 1930s. In the Archive we have many postcards of the river and photographs showing Port Richborough near the mouth of the Stour. We have the Harbour Master's Log Book which covers the ships and cargoes from the 1900s to the 1960s. There is a copy of the Foord map of the Quays from the Napoleonic Period when Sandwich built 300 ton ships for the Navy Board and we have a model of HMS Otter which was one of them. There are also documents relating to court cases one against a Wharf owner who encroached on the river width and another where doctor's fees were claimed by a barge captain when a mooring post broke causing injury to one of the crew. A book by Margaret Simmons about Feltons the barge builders can be purchased if required.
Hon Curator, Sandwich Guildhall Museum and Archive
Yes, Museum during opening hours: http://www.sandwichtowncouncil.gov.uk/guildhall/museum.htm
The items held in the Archive may be seen on Monday or Wednesday afternoons 2.30pm-4.30pm (NB the Archive is on the 2nd Floor of the Guildhall not adjacent to the Museum - report to the Town Council Office who will show you where we are.)
Darkslides loaded and early exploration of using the MPP 5x4 view camera I took some direct positive paper alongside fp4 to Pegwell Bay harbor to make some photographs. I have started recording in detail every shot, however its format and readability is not something I will force you to endure.
So it is after some time I reflect and evaluate now that the paper is developed, I shot these on Wed 17/09.
The day was overcast, with little direct sunlight and no shadows. There was a low level fog which felt like a huge soft box, and it was murky to start and lifted progressively. A slight breeze made me realize that perhaps I need to ensure I have a heavier tripod in the future. I also need to write a detailed shot description because I no longer remember which image came from which dark slide and although I think I can remember I cannot be 100% positive.
The first image was an attempted re-make of a digital I had shot previously, however, because of the difference in lens angles I re-composed. I will, return with different lenses to explore the previous photograph. These particular structures are great subjects and can be photographed from many angles and make for interesting compositions, I think studying the light throughout the day will give a better understanding for pre-visualization.
Image 1. f32 | 4Seconds.
In terms of exposure this was the most successful image from the days shooting, previously I have been trying to expose for the detail in the grass, this I think has the most texture and creates an interesting series of images. It is a tool which I employed in the pre-shoot digital images and something I wanted to continue. However, this is the only image where the paper could hold the dynamic range. Otherwise lots of the surrounding details has been lost, due to the limitations of the paper and also the environment from the day.
Image 2. f32 | 4Seconds
This image is successful in composition and has strong lines but is overexposed and needs re-visiting. I like the shapes and space.
Image 3. f42 | 8Seconds (sun came out)
Image 4. f32 | 4Seconds
The first time I shot at Pegwell Bay for this project at low tide and it opens up a different landscapes, this image looks down into the river and once the tide retracts you can see the old architecture from when the River was once an important harbor. This is something I plan on considering when taking pictures and exploring locations.
Image 5. Exposed for the grass. f32 | 12Seconds
Image 6. Exposed for shadows in ditch. f22 | 8Seconds
Overexposed but the image looks to have potential, I like the leading line towards the smaller structures which break up the horizon. This is an image I plan on re-visiting and re-shooting soon.
The limitations of direct positive paper are vast and they prevent large prints, however there is a certain beauty and wonder around the individual one off print. And the instant print process, from research and practice I connect with processes where unique prints are made and although they present challenges and difficulties I feel if I can find and work with one for the benefit of the project I would like to accept the challenge. They add a magical and beautiful quality which can enhance the aesthetic and physical quality of the resulting photographs.
I have 2 images shot on film from this days visit, which I will develop with the next visits exposures.
Found in the SEAS Archive, two sailing boats racing along the Kentish river Stour near Sandwich Quay.
Taken from the other end of the Wantsum channel, at Reculver the fish farm creates an interesting agricultural use of the waterways. The Wantsum this far is almost reduced in size to a ditch and the water and flow no longer reaches the sea, however it is purposed for the farming as irrigation.
Compositonally, using the dynamic sky, when there is interest, to create the feeling of space and elevation.
This time traveling up river and investigating two interesting points along the river, blood point and cut end. Photographs taken from being on the water in a boat and so have a much lower perspective compared to the previous images. Have to consider how/if this will be possible to shoot on a 5x4 tripod camera without sacrificing depth of field and image sharpness. The movement in the water opposed to the smoother longer exposure is another area which I will need to spend thought to create a consistency throughout my work. Repeating motifs and imagery are really important in producing a successful series of images.
Also visited the start of the Wantsum channel which at one time divided the isle of Thanet into an island, at parts a mile wide the river was once an important influence in the trade and travel between London and the English Channel. Allowing for barges to avoid the longer route around North Foreland (visit) and passed Margate the Wantsum provided safer travel.
The texture and color of the trees and reeds will be a continuing theme throughout the project and so the process and method of photographing it needs to reproduce these well. The more I make photographs surrounding the river I feel the project needs to follow a traditional process with black and white fine art prints and book as an end output.
At the mouth of the River Stour at the old historical port there are relics of old dreams, boats which have seen too much water and are relics of history. These photographs are not only visually interesting to me but I foresee some interesting metaphorical signifies within the photographs. Both collectively throughout the river as well as within my own emotional connection with the project. The photographs continue the 16x9 landscape, B&W exploration.
16 x 9 aspect ratio explored, exploring a cinematic connection. Converted into black and white as a pre-visualized large format photographic print. All shot moving from Pegwell bay 'bay' over the hoverport along the nature reserve and towards the old harbor. Lots of local history learnt from local tourist operators and river users. The structures at Pegwell Bay make for fantastic photographs, exposing for the shadows and ensuring that the detail is kept in the grass across the days shooting. Lightroom graduated filter applied to the skies to create the interesting dynamic range, need to explore the use of filters and post production burning in the darkroom to be able to achieve similar/better results in physical print.