Summer Task: Rework of Module

One of the tasks we got set to complete over the summer was to remake work from a module in year one. When deciding which pieces of work I wanted to improve what came to mind straight away was the black and white film project we had for the encountering culture module. This was my first university module and my first experience using black and white film 35mm cameras. I did not feel that the project as a whole was very strong and my research was not as throughout as it could be. However I wanted to focus more on pieces of work which I felt I wanted to improve from a more personal point of view and if I had more time would revisit the places.

I began to revisit my project titled ‘Semi-natural’ which was part of the Creative Digital Practice module (151MC) which can be found here. This was a project I felt I had connected with the most and was able to evoke the message I wanted. However I wanted to go back and revisit some of the locations I shot at and photograph the new shoots of heather coming through. The images in the book tell a narrative about the destruction that burning heather in the North York Moors has on the landscape and how this ‘natural’ environment, is heavily managed by humans.

I wanted to show what the Moors looked like when the heather is beginning to grow back again and show the contrast between the burnt areas. If I was to remake the book again and reorder the book I would put these images at the beginning of the book and slowly introduce the scenes of the managed areas. I want to juxtapose the images against each other and show the true scale of this process. In addition to this I also reshot some of the images of the burnt heather and the landscape surrounding the area in order to get a different perspective of the landscape.

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One of the other aspects I wanted to improve on for this project was the overall length of the book and the detail in the foreword at the end of the book. In my feedback I was told that ‘The text is well written and indicates thorough research on the topic. Consider how developing this text to include qualified information may add even more rigor to the project. The image and text works of artists such as Allan Sekula and Taryn Simon may be useful to research.’

Research

I began to research further into the statistics the effects burning the heather moor land has. I did not have access to the university library as I did last time and therefore I was unable to gather my information from books and essays. Instead I sourced my figures from the internet, although this provided me with recent information I was skeptical about it and had to decide whether or not it was bias and a reliable source.

Flying Dales fire and regeneration – In September 2003 a fire which burnt for 4 days led to 250ha of moorland being severely damaged. The area is part of Flying dales Moor, south of Whitby. A large amount of peat had been burnt away, along with the seed source and this meant that the natural regeneration process would not be effective. A large scale regeneration project was developed and many partners such as English Heritage and the North York Moors National park Authority helped. The main objectives of the project were

  1. Rapid re-vegetation of the burnt moorland to prevent further soil erosion
  2. Establish appropriate moorland vegetation, as close to the pre-burn vegetation as possible, using local seed sources where possible
  3. Survey and conserve archaeological features and prevent further damage
  4. Monitor to ensure that the above objectives are met

I found that this report from the North York Moors National Park team to be very thorough and it provided me with a break down of all of the attempts and the results of the regeneration.

Legal issues – Within the National Park 88%  of moorland habitat is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area (SPA) and Special Area for Conservation (SAC). In 2007 restrictions were put in place to prevent excessive and destructive burning which means that it cannot be:

• outside the burning season.
• on steep slopes, or on exposed rock or scree.
• fires covering an area >10ha; and
• fires that produce an area of bare soil >0.5ha, or an area of bare soil that extends >25m along a watercourse.

Artist Research

After finding a PDF version of Allan Sekula’s Fish Story 1989-95 I began to explore this body of work further and see how the commentary and text would help my own work. This project explored the historical, sociopolitical, aesthetic, and literary connections among port cities as New York, Rotterdam, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Seoul. Along with the photographs, Sekula included narrative commentaries of his experiences and also presented in depth research he had conducted throughout his time in the ports and ships.

In order for me to do this I feel that I would have to go back and visit the moors a further time and interview the people who work on the moors in order to get their points of view. Ideally I would like to spend time with them and get to know them so they are more comfortable talking to me and sharing their experiences. However during this time period I have been unable to achieve this due to work and limited funding. In order to do this I would need to contact the national parks team and many companies who work for them and in addition to this I would need to use professional recording equipment to interview them. Over the summer I did not have access to this equipment from the loan shop and when testing out using the internal microphone of my camera I found it picked up too much background noise. I feel that in order for me to start interviewing these people I would need this equipment. During the module I interviewed people and recorded them on my phone and then made a transcript of what they said, however I found this method was not very effective and it was very time consuming. I would like to have short extracts/quotes of what the people I interviewed said and I would of liked to make a short documentary style film to accompany my book. Yet in order to do this I would need a camera such as the Canon 5D and professional audio equipment to achieve my goal.

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Published by

Charlotte Pattinson

Photography student

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