Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Disjointed Ideas

This is also on another page 'In the beginning: Assignment 1however, it seems to have become more a general rambling of rather disjointed ideas than a basis for an assignment...any thoughts on the subject are always welcome......... 

After a few false starts and discarded ideas I think I'm beginning to distill my thoughts into one direction. My initial theme was split into three aspects.
Rural Cumbria: merging of traditional ways of living with modern technology
Cumbria on Show: a collection of photographs capturing the feeling and character of Cumbria’s Agricultural Shows and Fairs
Aspects: Showing the diverse and sometimes contrasting aspects of the county, from Beatrix potter and Japanese tourists to Sellerfield nuclear plant

On reflection perhaps the above is too diverse, the merging of traditional and modern is a stand alone project for another day. Shows, Fairs, and the contrasts of the 'Lake District NP'. I am aiming for an end result that forms a portrait of Cumbria in a different light, more up close and personal.
Cumbria's agricultural shows and county fairs are a rich source of images of the rural community with a sprinkling of the urban and tourist visitor. The Lake District National Park can be anything from a wilderness to a theme park depending on the location and the influx of tourists. The revised Project becomes more focused both in style and content.

I would say my personal style is social documentary/street photography and has been influenced by my past studies of the work of Henri Cartier Bresson and my interest in other photographers such as Steve McCurry and Sebastiao Salgado.  Also, after completing my previous course with a portfolio titled 'Partial Images' I am developing a greater interest in the style of Martin Parr and Chris Steel-Perkins. However I also enjoy more traditional landscape photography and wonder if the two can merge successfully ? Perhaps they already do under the umbrella of Travel Photography? 

A few of my photographs as examples.

Wed Feb 16

I've been thinking about different options and what might be involved. The concept, the style, the research. My thoughts are running in many directions now, but still keep returning to similar themes.

Cumbria on Show: a collection of photographs capturing the feeling and character of Cumbria’s Agricultural Shows and Fairs

Style, along the lines of Martin Partin Parr though possibly without his intense color. A more subdued Martin Parr. This maybe a contradiction in terms, but would perhaps better convey the character of the shows?

Research would be looking at the work of Martin Parr, Chris Steele-Perkins and Frank Horvit. I am interested in the techniques used by Parr ie his liking for flash photography to boost the garish and ‘in your face’ type of image. I am particularly interested in Parrs use of what I term as ‘partial images’ as he uses only parts of bodies, objects and scenes and how this often portrays more than a whole. This is an area I have dabbled in, but would like to expand upon. Other celebrated photographers have also included this approach in their work and it would be interesting to investigate how similar ‘partial images’ when presented with different styles and techniques can produce a very different result.

Aspects: Showing the diverse and sometimes contrasting aspects of the county, from Beatrix potter and Japanese tourists to Sellerfield nuclear plant.

I would like to use a ‘street photography style’ to capture images of tourism in the Lake District, Rural Street Photography? Again Martin Parr is an influence but also Henri Cartier Bresso. I am also drawn to the documentary work of Frank Horvat, in particular, his photographic essay ‘a homage to Catalonia’. Stuart Franklin is also an influence in this area and once again Chris Steel-Perkins. 

Thursday 17th February 

Well maybe my ideas aren't as 'distilled' as I thought they were. The deeper I look into this project the more interesting possibilities spring to mind. Keeping focused on one theme and style is difficult. The broad subject stays the same....Cumbria. However the theme and style options are vast and varied.

In the Aspects photo essay perhaps there should also be an element of the darker side of Cumbria, beyond the beautiful and uplifting Lakes and Mountains, holidays and fairs to the subdued and sometimes ugly realities of factories, pollution, unemployment and rural poverty. Can this element be portrayed in the same style or would a contrasting style be more effective? The more I think about the project the more questions, options and ideas spring to mind.....


  1. Hi Anna. Hope you don't mind me poking my nose in every now and then...

    The ideas sound interesting, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it develop. I went to a symposium the other day that featured a piece of work on Cumbrian hill farms (by Neal Andrews) which interspersed landscape with the documentary elements. It worked really well for him, so I don't see why it shouldn't for you.

    Catch you later. Rob

  2. Good to hear from you, anytime. Thanks for the encouraging words Rob, just trying to get my head around it all :-)

  3. Hi Anna: I agree your project sounds interesting. As you say, your work seems currently to divide into two - close-ish candids (love the sheep) and more distant landscapes. I look forward to following your progress to see how you bring the threads together.

    Penny (Marmalade) lives somewhere near you and exploring similar issues - you may want to check out her blog.

    In one of her explorations shoe found the work of Kate Kirkwood, best described as a rural street photographer. Check out her work - I think it is very beautiful and may give you some inspiration (or at least pleasure).

  4. Thanks for all the links Eileen, very useful. I think Penny must live quite close to me, I've probably seen her out on the fells as she's a runner and I'm out there at least twice a week. Kate Kirkwoods work is very good and it was quite interesting for me to see that we have chosen some of the same subjects, I have recently taken a similar shot of a frost covered decomposing sheep! Must be the Lake District mentality. Thanks again :-)