Category Archives: Assignment 6

Assignment 6 – Transitions: Initial Submission

The brief

Produce a series of images that responds to the idea of ‘transitions’ within the landscape.
Work on this assignment throughout the course. Record the changes that a part of the
landscape undergoes over an extended period of time. You may want to revisit a very
specific view or you may choose to explore a particular part of the landscape more
intuitively.
You may wish to photograph at very specific intervals (monthly, weekly, or even daily)
or your routine may develop by other means. The quantity of work that you submit will depend on your particular strategy.
When completed, the assignment should address the notion that the landscape is an
evolving, dynamic system. You may wish to confirm, question or subvert this assertion.
Your assignment should be accompanied with a reflective commentary (minimum 300
words) on how your project developed and how or whether it has affected your ideas
around landscape.

Assignment 6 Transitions

Introduction

In this blog I address the brief. I provide background to the project, including related work, my approach and results. I discuss my results using the OCA assessment criterial and summarise my key learnings.

Related links:

Why the twin topics of farming and tourism?

I spend a lot of my time in a small village in the Swiss alps, where I enjoy such activities as skiing, walking and biking, or simply relaxing. Having come here for more than a decade, I have got to know more about the village and how the lives of the locals, who are mainly farmers, is determined by the time of year. Spring brings the animals out of the barns and the low-lying fields are fertilized with manure; summer is the main season where the animals go further up the mountains onto the high pastures and close to the village there are at least two cuts of hay; in autumn there is the gradual preparation for winter and the animals come once more down to lower grazing areas; winter with snow means that there is very little visible farming activity, barns and the animals within being the main focus.

Alongside the rural life there is an increasing opportunity for tourism, which is an important source of income to the village and provides a number of jobs. It has its own cycle, with its main period of activity in winter with a variety of snow sports, but also to a lesser degree summer with biking, walking and families on holiday.

These two worlds and their connectivity fascinate me and I thought it would be interesting to try to capture the transitions of the farming world and the ever-increasing impact of tourism.

Approach

For this work I took a variety of shots on a standard walk that I take on a semi-regular basis over a year. Covid-19 and travel restrictions meant that there were gaps in the year, but I don’t think they impacted too much. In parallel with this I did some research (see here ). Very early on I decided on having the chair lift as a omnipresent unifying element in each of the images-

From the ca. 1500 photographs that I took I selected a short-list of ca. 200 candidates and classified them (e.g. by season, farming/tourist). For the 200 I cropped and adjusted contrast and brightness in Lightroom, then printed the top 80 in small format. I used composition and subject matter as primary criteria. I then used these prints to look for pairs of images that display similar/related aspects of the landscape. Looking at these pairs I checked that they covered the farming year and whittled these down to ca. sixteen pairs. I added some decorative elements (see below) and at a Region Europe Crit session asked for feedback . Based on this feedback I adapted my presentation to remove decorative elements and removed some of the weaker shots since I felt the feedback on these were fair comments.

For the final presentation format I wanted to incorporate the use the idea of a wave to illustrate the periodicity I saw in the farming and tourist life. I tried a number of approaches to do this (see below):

In the first version I used two curves representing agriculture and tourism to go across the paired images. In feedback there were mixed feelings on this with a complaint that it was too distracting.

My second attempt was based on a Möbius strip. Here my idea was to show the (never ending) yearly cycle and the two aspects at the same time. I mocked this up and found there were a number of practical problems. The images in part of the strip would appear upside down and it was difficult to keep the twist in the right place on the strip. These issues were perhaps soluble but I was not convinced that the basic idea was sound.

I finally settled on the the third presentation format – I took an Occam’s Razor approach and used the simplest option, and this seemed also the most aesthetically pleasing.

Research

During the course of this assignment I investigated a number of photographers and research articles. This can be found here. As recorded in the blog a number of influences flowed directly (and indirectly?) into this work.

Results

Image candidates

(click to expand)

Individual images

Artist statement

To everything there is a season

The work shows the changing relationships between agriculture and tourism in a small Swiss village in the Alps, over the course of a year. The year is driven by the farming community but there is a strong and ever-increasing dependence on tourism, particular during the winter season. There is a rhythm to the year, with both busy and quieter periods, albeit at different times for the worker and the tourist. Within the year repeating activities, such as hay-making, add to the idea of circular time. Within the two intertwined worlds of agriculture and tourism we can often see surprising connections and similarities. A common thread that weaves though the different environments is the omnipresent ski lift.

Artist statement

Presentation

I envisage the work to be displayed on a cylinder with the images wrapping around to form a continuous loop, the viewer walking around the cylinder to see the images. The following is a basic mock up:

Discussion

I found this assignment tricky, particularly the choice of the most powerful but coherent set of images, and aligning this with the right presentation format. I think I have a reasonable final set but I am left wondering whether there might have been more potential that I have not realised? With the presentation format, finding the right balance between a format that adds to the selected images but does not dominate them nor seem contrived is difficult. Again I think I have found a solution that is adequate but not inspiring.

Strengths and weaknesses

I think the strength of the work is:

  • The individual images capture the two strands
  • The pairing amplifies the interest of the images, allowing the viewer to compare the two images

Weaknesses are:

  • I feel that the images are rather quiet; although this is a fair reflection of the rhythms of the farming community, they perhaps fail to capture the excitement that many of the visitors come for.
  • The linkage between the two worlds is perhaps not as strong as it could be.

How the work might be further developed

I feel there is potential in combining the image pairs in a digital manner e.g. by fading from one to another; this could allow a more sophisticated (though not necessarily better) way of showing the dependences and similarities between the farming and tourist worlds.

Reflection

Using the OCA assessment criteria I discuss and judged my work against the four criteria:

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills: Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills

Quality of Outcome: Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment. Conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of
ideas.

Demonstration of Creativity: Imagination, experimentation, invention, Development of a personal voice

Context: Reflection, research (evidenced in learning logs). Critical thinking (evidenced
in critical review).

OCA assessment criteria

I try to use the descriptions given in the grid and base my assessment on previous modules and grading and try to justify this.

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills

I believe the series show competent technical and visual skills. In terms of composition I think they are reasonable and based on good observations.

Quality of Outcome

Competent realisation of ideas, presented well, showing consistency in judgement. Effective grasp of ideas and communication of visual ideas. The final results I think are reasonable (but not remarkable), reflecting the goals that I set

Demonstration of Creativity

Good synthesis of analytical and creative thinking. Some evidence of creativity, little
evidence of risk-taking, with a few imaginative outcomes. Some evidence of a developing personal voice
.

In terms of creativity I feel the work is adequate. The paired images and curved final format are reasonable but not pushing any boundaries. I could possibly have tried more experimental display formats.

Context

Articulate and self aware, good range of research. Demonstrates a developing intellectual understanding and criticality. I believe my research has been extensive and I feel my approach to the analysis is decent.

What did I learn

This assignment was very interesting; it was a like a long journey, one can make plans at the beginning but must be prepared for changes and often it is better to travel hopefully rather than to arrive.

Assignment 6: Research

Introduction

Over the course of this assignment I researched a number of photographers, artists and social science researchers, concentrating on the themes of rural life, tourism, landscapes, and their transitions. This research fed into my work and in turn the work gave rise to more research. Sources for my research were my tutor, other OCA tutors, fellow students, the OCA Library and the internet. I discuss this research along with my main reactions.

I stored raw data in my electronic notebook, the relevant extract is here:

Discussion

Photographers

I looked at a number of photographers; in the following sections I show some illustrative work and give a brief summary of my reactions and thoughts.

Melanie Manchot

Reference: (Manchot, n.d)

Example of work:

(@Melanie Manchot – Click to enlarge)

My thoughts:

I can associate very much with her work; a number of the images are taken from locations in Switzerland that I know very well. The work seems to be focused on the taming of the sublime of the mountains, as they change from powerful and mysterious to a commonplace tourist playground. The images still retain some of the feeling of the sublime, although the hand of (wo)man can be seen. I can see how some of this might influence my work. However, to be honest, it is so close to my current practice that I don’t see any direct input that would significantly change my approach.

Paul Hill

Reference: (Hill, n.d.)

Example of work:

(@Paul Hill – Click to enlarge)

My thoughts:

Hill’s work (in black and white) seems to focus on shapes that he has encountered in the British countryside. The views are often taken looking down. The subject matter often features the mundane. On seeing the initial shape, for example a stone wall bisecting the image, I found my eye being drawn in to look for other shapes. I found the work interesting but not (yet) to me something that I would continually revisit; perhaps Hill’s exclusive use of black and white emphasises the dullness that that emanates from the photographs.

Richard Misrach

Reference: (Pace Gallery | Richard Misrach, n.d.)

Example of work:

(@Richard Misrach – Click to enlarge)

My thoughts:

The work has a strong aesthetic but there is something unsettling in the, often man-made, features in the landscape. These features catch the eye, draw it in and raise questions that are not easy to answer. I liked his work a lot. I believe that photography should be strongly visually led but have a punctum and this work certainly fulfils this.

Patrick Nagatani

Reference: (Nagatani, n.d.)

Example of work:

(@Patrick Nagatani – Click to enlarge)

My thoughts:

Nagatani’s work shows how landscapes can be manipulated to emphasis a specific message. I find the images visually very interesting with the added elements adding to the underlying shot. I was particularly taken with the series Nuclear enchantment. The juxtaposition of the added elements, symbols of joy, peace and contentment, to a background of nuclear devastation add to the fearsomeness of this world.

John Pfahl

Reference: (John Pfahl – Altered Landscapes – Exhibitions – Joseph Bellows Gallery, 2019; John Pfahl, n.d.)

Example of work:

(@John Pfahl – Click to enlarge)

My thoughts:

The Pfahl work that I focused on was his Altered Landscapes series, where he uses marks to emphasise particular elements. I found that these marks enhanced the images, adding intrigue to each image. My eye was drawn by these additions into a photograph that would otherwise not have attracted my notice. It was not always clear to me what Pfahl’s intent was: a means to guide the eye, enhancing a particular form or something deeper? Regardless, it succeeded in capturing my attention.

John Hinde

Reference: (Design, n.d.)

Example of work:

(@John Hinde Ltd – Click to enlarge)

My thoughts:

The postcards have a simplicity, showing charming, idealised landscape scenes, often with one or two people that give scale and focus to the image. I found the images engaging, easy on the eye and more interesting the more one looked at them. It reinforced the idea that images don’t need to be stunning, focusing on the sublime in order to be successful. Quiet images can work just as well if they can evoke a response in the viewer, in this case a feeling of nostalgia.

William Eggleston

Reference: (Sheehan, 2016; Rambling through Eggleston’s Democratic Forest, 2021)

Example of work:

(@Eggleston Artistic Trust – Click to enlarge)

My thoughts:

To my shame this is the first time that I have really looked into Eggleston’s work The Democratic Forest. I found it fascinating; I appreciated the simplicity of the images, with clever compositional elements that draw the eye into photograph and the emotional responses that are invoked. Moreover, the flow of the series reinforced the interest, subsequent images continually building upon and reinforcing the initial feeling. In contrast to Hinde there was no feeling of an idealised world; Eggleston shows the world the way it is, interesting in its simplicity.

Tourism and landscapes

In researching I came across a number of academic works (Schirpke et al., 2013; (Zscheischler, Busse and Heitepriem, 2019; Van der Sluis et al., 2018; Stotten, 2015; Ellison 2011) that discussed in a more scientific manner the impact of tourism on rural landscapes. I noted the following (summarised) points:

  • Consideration is being given on how to manage the look of landscape for tourism purposes
  • Landscapes can be modelled to access for scenic beauty – the near zone is especially important
  • The local population sees the landscape in a different way to tourists
  • It is essential to include the cultural aspects for successful management of landscapes – cultural landscapes describe a symbiosis of human activity and environment.
  • Tourism fits into a schema of Production, Protection and Consumption as a means to identify rural uses of the landscape
  • The concepts of the tourist gaze and dark tourism

Discussion

Looking at all this research, I think the following points have fed into my work:

  • The use of marks to emphasise particular aspects and add interest (from Pfahl)
  • The power of simple images with excellent compositions (Hinde and Eggleston)
  • The power of strong visually led images (Misrach)

In addition, the academic research made me aware of the general issues / problems that rural communities are facing, that there are different culture views (Local Place – Tourist Space). This evidence-based research reinforced my instinctive feelings.

What did I learn

My major ah-ah moment was looking closely at the work of Eggleston and enjoying the simple but compositionally strong images.

References

Design, M., n.d. The original and official John Hinde Collection edition photographs and John Hinde postcards archive. [online] Johnhindecollection.com. Available at: <https://www.johnhindecollection.com/&gt; [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Ellison, J., 2011. Negotiating the complexities of place: Peggy’s Cove, tourism and Swissair 111, Trent University (Canada).

Hill, P., n.d. Paul Hill on Photography. [online] Hillonphotography.co.uk. Available at: <http://www.hillonphotography.co.uk/projects/landscapes.php&gt; [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Janet Borden Inc. n.d. JOHN PFAHL. [online] Available at: <http://janetbordeninc.com/artist/john-pfahl/&gt; [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Josephbellows.com. 2019. John Pfahl – Altered Landscapes – Exhibitions – Joseph Bellows Gallery. [online] Available at: <https://www.josephbellows.com/exhibitions/john-pfahl2&gt; [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Manchot, M., n.d. Out of Bounds « Melanie Manchot. [online] Melaniemanchot.net. Available at: <http://www.melaniemanchot.net/category/out-of-bounds-work-cat/&gt; [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Manchot, M., n.d.. Mountainworks (Montafon) « Melanie Manchot. [online] Melaniemanchot.net. Available at: <http://www.melaniemanchot.net/category/mountainworks/&gt; [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Nagatani, P., n.d. Patrick Nagatani – Offical Website. [online] Patricknagatani.com. Available at: <https://www.patricknagatani.com/&gt; [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Pacegallery.com. n.d. Pace Gallery | Richard Misrach. [online] Available at: <https://www.pacegallery.com/artists/richard-misrach/&gt; [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Rambling through Eggleston’s Democratic Forest. 2021. Directed by A. Soth. YouTube: Alec Soth.

Schirpke, U., Hölzler, S., Leitinger, G., Bacher, M., Tappeiner, U. and Tasser, E., 2013. Can We Model the Scenic Beauty of an Alpine Landscape?. Sustainability, 5(3), pp.1080-1094.

Sheehan, S., 2016. Selections from William Eggleston’s Masterwork, The Democratic Forest – Photographs by William Eggleston | LensCulture. [online] LensCulture. Available at: <https://www.lensculture.com/articles/william-eggleston-selections-from-william-eggleston-s-masterwork-the-democratic-forest&gt; [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Stotten, R., 2015. Farmers’ Perspectives on Cultural Landscapes in Central Switzerland: How Landscape Socialization and Habitus Influence an Aesthetic Appreciation of Landscape. Society & Natural Resources, 29(2), pp.166-184.

 Van der Sluis, T., Pedroli, B., Frederiksen, P., Kristensen, S., Busck, A., Pavlis, V. and Cosor, G., 2018. The impact of European landscape transitions on the provision of landscape services: an explorative study using six cases of rural land change. Landscape Ecology, 34(2), pp.307-323.

Zscheischler, J., Busse, M. and Heitepriem, N., 2019. Challenges to Build up a Collaborative Landscape Management (CLM)—Lessons from a Stakeholder Analysis in Germany. Environmental Management, 64(5), pp.580-592.

Assignment 6: Transitions – Initial version for feedback

The brief

Produce a series of images that responds to the idea of ‘transitions’ within the landscape.
Work on this assignment throughout the course. Record the changes that a part of the
landscape undergoes over an extended period of time. You may want to revisit a very
specific view or you may choose to explore a particular part of the landscape more
intuitively.
You may wish to photograph at very specific intervals (monthly, weekly, or even daily)
or your routine may develop by other means. The quantity of work that you submit will depend on your particular strategy.
When completed, the assignment should address the notion that the landscape is an
evolving, dynamic system. You may wish to confirm, question or subvert this assertion.
Your assignment should be accompanied with a reflective commentary (minimum 300
words) on how your project developed and how or whether it has affected your ideas
around landscape.

Assignment 6 Transitions

Introduction

In this blog entry I have created material for feedback and critique. I describe my thoughts on the theme for the brief, my initial results and the questions I would like answered.

Theme

I choose as theme the changing relationships between agriculture and tourism in a small Swiss village in the Alps over the course of a year. The year is driven by the farming community but there is a strong dependence on tourism, particular during the winter season. There is a rhythm to the year, with both busy and quieter periods, albeit at different times for the worker and the tourist. Often we can see surprising connections and similarities between these two intertwined worlds.

In the following images I explore this rhythm, connections and similarities.

Results

Summer

(click to expand)

Autumn

(click to expand)

Winter

(click to expand)

Spring

(click to expand)

Discussion

I would like to elicit explicit feedback on this work-in-progress on the following aspects:

  • Does the work fulfil the brief?
  • Any images or text that feel out of place?
  • Does the use of diptychs as a presentation format work?

Of course, any other comments are very welcome.

Feedback

I submitted this work for the Region Europe Crit session of the 5th May. I found this session extremely useful albeit something to give me thought since there was no unified opinion. My main impression was one of the work has potential with some very strong images however my current selection and presentation format does not really work and should be reconsidered. A number of suggestions were made, most of which to be honest I had already considered but had rejected, primarily since I had explored them already in this course, maybe I need to reconsider. The following is a summary of the feedback in terms of Good, Difficult, Different:

Good

  • The text helps clarify the connections
  • I like that the pairs are different but that there are elements that reference to the other picture of the pair
  • The idea is good as it embraces time as cyclic not linear
  • The wave lines made me look at lines or other visual connections (lines, shapes) between the farming and the tourism image. Perhaps something to push further?
  • I do like the connections in the other diptychs – like sheep in the summer and skiers in the winter; different machines in different seasons, rhythm of hay packages and rhythm of people. There are these interesting contrasts, sometimes they made me laugh
  • Regarding the diptych, it has the effect of ”find 10 differences” which is quite entertaining for the viewer.
  • The transitions project is addressed in an interesting and intriguing manner. I like the routes and tangles which are evident in the work.
  • The work definitely fulfils the brief, yes. You have some terrific images

Difficult

  • The text does not add to the presentation
  • The graphic lines are disruptive, a barrier
  • Do the images follow the brief?
  • I am not sure about diptych as resolution: the text/pairing sometimes has me seeking a solution in the visuals (a little like: find the fault in a copy or similar, Original/Faelschung games or similar), which takes away from the visuals.
  • I probably find the wave lines too graphic as resolution, though I like their intent (and them mirroring the temperature in the respective images). I have no obvious alternative suggestions for this (be it editing, be it format/arrangement, a different use of text), so I am looking forward to the discussion.
  • My feeling is that fewer images, freed from the diptych format (and text) would make for a very impactful piece – reserving text for your introduction.
  • There is a danger of having their overall effect diluted by other images that are perhaps not as strong.
  • I thought the diptych – as others said – invites you to solve something and that’s not always / or perhaps not at all? your intention

Different

  • Consider a slide show format
  • Consider two image overlay, possibly with animation
  • Consider and interactive format
  • Simplify the presentation
  • Concentrate on the best images
  • Consider a Mobius strip presentation format
  • Would printing on tracing paper work?
  • Would a slide projector work?
  • The moebius strip idea is interesting – try a mock-up to see how that might work, and document it for your learning log either way. 
  • Consider the following Artists / work:
  1. Alec Soth Rambling through Eggleston’s Democratic Forest (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kj6efh1mSH4)
  2. Gabriela Oberkofler | Home
  3. Myvillages – Whitechapel Gallery,
  4. John Hinde
  5. Simon Chirgwin: One – Landscape, Place and Environment – Simon Chirgwin (wordpress.com)

I will look at the research and let the feedback sink in before updating, which I certainly will do.

Assignment 6 Transitions: Work in progress (3)

The brief

Produce a series of images that responds to the idea of ‘transitions’ within the landscape.
Work on this assignment throughout the course. Record the changes that a part of the
landscape undergoes over an extended period of time. You may want to revisit a very
specific view or you may choose to explore a particular part of the landscape more
intuitively.
You may wish to photograph at very specific intervals (monthly, weekly, or even daily)
or your routine may develop by other means. The quantity of work that you submit will depend on your particular strategy.
When completed, the assignment should address the notion that the landscape is an
evolving, dynamic system. You may wish to confirm, question or subvert this assertion.
Your assignment should be accompanied with a reflective commentary (minimum 300
words) on how your project developed and how or whether it has affected your ideas
around landscape.

Assignment 6 Transitions

Introduction

I have been progressing with this assignment since my last update primarily focusing on my project Alps – Agriculture to Tourism. Although I am still taking photographs for Regeneration and Rural to urban projects for the just in case scenario. I thought that I would by now have restricted to a single back-up but have not done so since the extra effort in keeping both going is minimal. I will not discuss these further.

In this blog entry I want to show a selection of typical images, discuss possible sub themes and become more concrete on research areas since I have not yet made any real progress here. In addition, I muse further on possible presentation formats and finally take stock on where i think the work is possibly going.

All these points are interlinked in creating the final work but for me they are currently all in flux, influencing one another. I think this is currently OK but as the work progresses I will need to firm up some of them in order to constrain the others. Writing this blog entry will, I hope, help with this process.

The following is a mind map that I created as I brainstormed various aspects:

Mind map

(click to enlarge)

24th October 2020: I received feedback from my tutor and I respond to this, see below.

Results

Typical images

(click to enlarge)

Discussion

Possible sub-themes

Within the overall theme of Alps – Agriculture to Tourism I think there are a number of possible sub-themes that I could explore:

  • Change of specific land use from agriculture to tourism (biking, walking, skiing…)
  • How the land is (emotionally) differently viewed by the locals and visitors (tourists)
  • How the yearly land use cycle is being impacted by long term changes (expanding building, political changes, changing climate, changing societal needs, Covid)

Presentation formats

I have a number of thoughts which I can only crystallise when I have homed in on the final theme(s) and performed research but based on my current ideas I can see:

  • Image with an image: Main scene at a specific location showing a specific land usage with an images within it (as a poster?) showing another (strongly different) use.
  • Triptychs showing a neutral view of an location (map) along side two strongly differing usages, agriculture and tourism
  • A circular format showing a number of individual images taken from the same location showing the change over the year
  • A movie/slide show format showing pair of images with short text explanation between.

Current feelings on the direction of this work

At this stage I like the idea of showing how the changing land is emotionally perceived by the local and visitors. This will allow both the yearly and long-term changes to be incorporated. This will be more of a challenge than simply showing changes in a documentary manner but I suspect will be more rewarding. Having put this stake-in-the-ground this will help direct my future photography for the assignment.

Research areas

Based on my current direction the work is heading I feel research in the following areas would be very beneficial:

  • Emotional relationships to land
  • Transitions in agriculture/tourist regions
  • Land and power

Some of these (e.g. Land and Power) will, I think, be dealt with in the course but I will start looking at all of these in order to start directing my thinking.

What did I learn

By writing down thoughts, that were up until now just in my head, has helped clarify a direction for this work.

Feedback and my response

I recived the following commenst from my tutor:

Seems like you are investigating all you can. I guess the images will start to have more direction and be visually alternative once winter kicks in. I’d just make sure that you shoot lots of images but have a mind on your composition so that the final result is coherent. I think that a lot of the ideas will manifest themselves in the final edit particularly if you are thinking about the emotional aspect of the landscape, this suggests that they need to be atmospheric, how do you visualise the emotions of the locals? How are you avoiding the documentary approach? Your images seem very illustrative.

Take a look at Melanie Manchot:

Mountainworks

http://www.melaniemanchot.net/category/mountainworks/

Out of Bounds

My response

As usual my tutor has provided insightful feedback that I find very helpful and will take on board. On a preliminary view the work of Melanie Manchot looks very interesting, I note that it is taken in Engelberg an area I know very well. I will include a more detailed review of the work when I progress with my research.

Assignment 6 Transitions: Work in progress (2)

The brief

Produce a series of images that responds to the idea of ‘transitions’ within the landscape.
Work on this assignment throughout the course. Record the changes that a part of the
landscape undergoes over an extended period of time. You may want to revisit a very
specific view or you may choose to explore a particular part of the landscape more
intuitively.
You may wish to photograph at very specific intervals (monthly, weekly, or even daily)
or your routine may develop by other means. The quantity of work that you submit will depend on your particular strategy.
When completed, the assignment should address the notion that the landscape is an
evolving, dynamic system. You may wish to confirm, question or subvert this assertion.
Your assignment should be accompanied with a reflective commentary (minimum 300
words) on how your project developed and how or whether it has affected your ideas
around landscape.

Assignment 6 Transitions

Introduction

I have been taking photos for nearly two months for this assignment and I wanted to summarise where I am with this assignment (showing more promising images) and my thoughts for the future. This blog entry builds upon Exercise 1.5 . In this entry I recorded a number of possible themes and directions that could fulfil the brief. I shared this with my tutor. based on his feedback and my own thoughts I restricted the number of possible themes to three:

  • Alps – Agriculture to Tourism
  • Regeneration
  • Rural to urban

I will need to reduce further but from a previous course (Graphic Design) I learnt the value of keeping a broad palette of options and experimentation before finally deciding on a direction.

Results

The following are a sample of images for each of the themes.

Alps – Agriculture to Tourism

Regeneration

Rural to Urban

Discussion

I want to try to summarise my feelings about each of the themes and will use a (business) framework of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) to classify them.

Alps – Agriculture to Tourism

Strengths
Range of possible subjects and narratives
Strongly changing landscape
Use of chair lift creates interest and coherence
Weaknesses
Too diverse, no clear story yet

Opportunities
The wolf (tourism v. farmer view)
Create typographical views
Threats
That no real story develops
SWOT analysis

Regeneration

Strengths
The juxtaposition of the growing towers with plants is strong
Coherent set
Weaknesses
Limited subjects

Opportunities
Creating interest by keeping a fixed view
Threats
Limited visually and too simple a narrative
Once tower is finished the series is limited
SWOT analysis

Rural to Urban

Strengths
The encroachment of the urban on the rural resonates
Coherent set
Weaknesses
Limited subject

Opportunities
Try taking differing views in order to find other subjects of interest
Threats
Once building in foreground is finished, series is limited
SWOT analysis

The theme Alps – Agriculture to Tourism is my clear favourite and I will focus on this. I am still hesitant to drop the other two but think I ought to reduce to just one. I will think on it and tell of my decision on the next update.

Other areas I will need to start to make thoughts about are:

  • Possible presentation formats – how will the work be presented. I know that the course addresses presentation formats so perhaps this can wait a bit?
  • Research – I think I need to start performing research in order to provide additional input and help shape direction. I will focus this on the Alps – Agriculture to Tourism and also ask my tutor for advice.

For the Alps – Agriculture to Tourism theme I have had a couple of thoughts that I just wanted to record, although I don’t know if I will implement them:

  • The chairlift: is seen in the distance in summer but close up in winter when it is used, showing it as just a presence to something that is active.
  • Use extreme portrait format with possible lenticular effects / interlacing in order to show the mountain landscape and / or interlacing of differing time periods to show differing time periods.

What did I learn

I appreciate this assignment very much and find the idea of having a longer term project very edifying: how ones ideas change and evolve over time.

Exercise 1.5: Visualising Assignment Six: Transitions

The Brief

For this exercise you’ll begin working on Assignment Six: Transitions. Read ahead
and familiarise yourself with the brief for this assignment now.
To get started with this assignment you’ll need to choose a location or specific view
that you’ll revisit throughout the duration of this course. Choose somewhere that
is easily accessible and practical within the confines of the assignment brief. We
recommend that you pick a location that’s somewhere near to where you live or
work.
If you decide to revisit a very particular view, then this activity will test your skills of
pre-visualisation. You’ll need to try to imagine how the view might look throughout
the year under different weather and lighting conditions, and whether there are
any other factors that will affect your camera’s view. You may of course try a few
different angles or vantage points but in any case pay very close attention to how
you compose the frame, as you’ll need to ‘commit’ to this for the duration of the
course.
You’re strongly recommended to consider shooting a back-up location (at least in
the early stages of this project) so that you have a ‘plan B’ in case anything hinders
the development of your project.
Document your work within your learning log. As the project develops you may wish
to ask your tutor for feedback; do this when you submit your other assignments for
feedback.

Introduction

In this entry I describe my response to the brief. I give some context, describe my approach and initial results. I follow this with a discussion of my findings and what I see as next steps. I conclude with my learning from the exercise.

Since I go either walking or biking most days from the village where I live I thought a possibility would be to choose a location on one of these routes. I also have the opportunity to often visit the alps and so this might provide another option.

I shared my ideas with my tutor and record his feedback below.

Method

I started by reading through the brief for assignment 6 along with the brief for this exercise. I then started a mind map to try to help structure my thoughts and in particular come up with some initial concepts for the images. I show the mind map below. I then explored a number of potential sites taking some initial shots and thinking about how a series might look over ca. one year. I marked these locations on a map (see below). On taking a number of shots I then was able to build on a number concepts. After revisiting the sites, taking more shots and discussing concepts with my family I decided on three possible locations with concepts. However, before I refined these three choices I wanted to explore my second location in the alps.

I fond a very promising location in the alps (see map below) that I thought could support a key concept I had: investigating change of the use of land from agriculture to tourism. I show some preliminary shots below.

Results

Mindmap

Locations

Sample shots

Discussion

At this stage of the assignment I am still investigating concepts and possible locations. My current favourites are:

  • Alps – Agriculture to Tourism
  • Regeneration

Since I think they are the strongest concepts and will provide strong imagery. However, I will continue to consider concepts (looking into Landscape literature that I have acquired) and continue looking for locations and taking photographs. I find often find that the images will also suggest new and better concepts. Other concepts that I am still considering are:

  • Wild and tamed
  • Rural to urban
  • A farmers life.

I am finding this a very interesting exercise and enjoying the visualisation aspects immensely. As I progress I will periodically make further Blog entries describing this work and in particular describe more fully the concepts as they develop,

What did I learn

My main learning so far is the ability to try to visualise how a landscape might look in the future and the interplay between concept and photograph and how it can be a two way process.

Tutor Feedback

I’d just suggest that you continue thinking about various ideas as you are. Your present ideas all seem appropriate but as you are aware it’s how they will exist has a final consistent photographic series and the final set clearly identifies the transition. I like the idea of the rural to urban and in particular, because of visiting these places when in Austria, of the re use of land from agriculture to tourism. Your images of chair lifts (out of season ski resorts etc) could have potential. I suggest keeping the visuals fairly consistent, think about the notion of typology and how it’s used within photography, think about the Becher’s etc but this isn’t a given.

I will consider these points and make additional blog entries as this project develops.