Topic/treatment and audience
For my project I am going to be investigating further into the main environmental issues, conservation efforts and also how areas of land are being managed in particular in the North York Moors as this is a national park and is heavily managed. The changes in land use through urbanisation, industrialisation and development has led to many environmental issues, in particular the fragmentation of habitats and decline in biodiversity due to loss of habitats.
My body of work explores how the North York Moors are being managed heavily by humans and how even though the landscape appears to be natural it is in fact semi-natural and greatly shaped by our actions. Within my work I aim to engage people and raise questions about the ethics behind our development and destruction of these fragile and distinct ecologies and habitats and how we are continuing to exploit the natural resources within this area for our own gain, in particular economic or recreational gain. The burning of the heather to provide a habitat for the Red Grouse, which is then shot for game and is one of the main reasons behind many of environmental issues in the moors. The burning of the heather not only impacts on other plant and animal species it also prevents it from reaching its next stage in succession, which in turn prevents it from returning back to woodland. The remaining ancient woodland is also being deforested for logging and to make room for agricultural and gazing land. A never-ending circle of problems then occurs.
We are currently in the ‘Anthropocene’, which is the epoch that began when human activities started to have a significant impact of the Earth’s ecosystems. I intend for this body of work to raise wider questions about how we are managing the land not only in the UK but also on a global scale and how if we continue to develop at such a rapid rate and use unsustainable management practices we will eventually lose the rich biodiversity we once had. In turn we could cause plant and animal species to become extinct if we do not become responsible for our actions. In a way this series will act as an allegory for other
My work will also explore how human presence can be evident in a landscape without there physically being any people in my images. The viewer will be able to see the effect humans have left on the landscape and the remnants of what we have altered.
My final piece will be presented in the form of a photo book, which will be 25x20cm in dimension with a landscape orientation. The book will have a range of different sized images, some being full bleed and others in the middle of the page with a white border. The layout of the book will be based on my research into sequencing and from taking inspiration from other photo books. By producing a physical artefact it will allow the viewer to look closer at the images and spend more time considering the meaning behind them. The book will also include an afterword that will explain my intentions behind the series and the supporting context.
Skills and resource requirements
I need to develop my skills in landscape photography. I am used to taking close up macro pictures of nature however this time I will need to ensure that I fit the entire subject into the frame. This will require me in some cases to use a tripod that is suitable for this. In addition to this I will also need to ensure that I manage my workflow efficiently and make sure I have a well organised filing system. I will be visiting lots of different locations for my shoots therefore in order to provide context for my images I need to know where they were taken and also when they were taken so having an organised filing system will give my project a clear structure.
I also want to develop my ability to tell stories within my work. I want the viewers to be able to engage with the image and use their own knowledge to be able to understand the context of the image further. In order to do this I will be researching further into some key concepts regarding human presence in an image and also reading books such as Land Matters by Liz Wells to help develop my understanding of landscape photography.
As I am going to be presenting my work in the form of a photo book a key part of a photo book is the overall presentation of the images. Therefore I will carry out many experiments regarding the sequencing of my images and also the layout of the book. Any accompanying text will also have to be carefully thought out in order to create the desired effect on my audience and to accompany the images. Too little text and the audience will be left confused whereas too much text and it will distract them from the images, therefore a balance needs to be struck.
In order to print the book in the style that I want, I am going to design the layout and presentation using the software InDesign. Having never used this software before I will have to teach myself and ensure that all the measurements are correct so when I come to print the images they will be the correct size.
I will also keep a workbook along side writing blog posts. The workbook will contain all my contact sheets, articles, experimentations, ideas and my thought process throughout the project. It will allow me to show my development of ideas in one place and I believe that by having a physical object it will allow me to include lots of different types of mediums into my research and to easily look back on previous research and work.
I aim to finish my project a week before the deadline as this gives me a buffer zone if anything does not go to plan. Due to the locations for my project I will have to do a lot of travelling therefore I will need to allocate time to revisit the areas if another shoot is needed. However due to the distance and time scale I will only have enough time to visit the locations at least twice.
I will also book office hours and attend group and individual tutorials with my lecturer each week as I will be able to tell them about the progression of my project and ask any relevant questions. This will help me ensure that my project is on track and I am making the right decisions in regard to the direction of my project. In addition to this I also need to allocate enough time to get my photo book designed and printed otherwise I will not have a final artefact and will not have met my learning objectives.
- First shoot – (30th January)
- Second Shoot – (1st February)
- Third Shoot and post production editing (13-16th February)
- Start putting together presentation (decide whether I want to include a video)
- Start selecting possible final images which I want to include in photo book (16th February)
- Plan sequencing and layout of images – make a mock book (14th February)
- Start designing final book layout in InDesign (17th February)
- Get a test print of page done a print bureau and order book (27th February)
- Continue to revise and rehearse presentation (5th till the 9th March)
Objectives and outcomes
By the end of this assignment I want to have been able to produce a strong series of images that reinforce and support the extensive research I have carried out on conservation and management issues within the UK, in particular the North York Moors. Also I want to have produced a detailed set of blog posts and a workbook which supports and contextualised my body of work.
I want my audience to feel more informed on these issues and to offer them an insight into the negative impacts management techniques such as the burning of the heather are having on habitats. In addition, I would like them to become more aware of how humans are continuing to develop on land even thought it is under threat or is meant to be an area of conservation.
Furthermore I want to have developed as an image-maker and to become more insightful into wider issues and to also develop my ability to tell a narrative within my images. I also want the way in which I present my final body of work to be to a very high quality and be a book that people want to interact with and to start conversations regarding the issues I have highlighted.