Posted in Assignment 6 ~ Transitions, Coursework

Assignment Six – Progress – Five Month mark

It has been four months since I placed the Playmobil house in the garden for Assignment Six, Transitions, showing how nature will reclaim everything back when humanity is gone. At the start of this project I wrote of my expectations on my Assignment preparation post here

  • That the house will slowly be choked with vegetation reminiscent of Chernobyl.
  • The furniture in the house will either be swept away, trapped inside or will become homes.
  • Insects and perhaps even mammals will use the place as a safe harbour. Maggots may thrive, spiders will decorate the walls and windows with their deadly art.

It felt a good time to reflect on the progress of the house and assess my own progress on what was working and what I could do better at.

Below is a slideshow of the transitions of the house over the four months.

MARCH

 

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APRIL

 

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MAY ¬†I was away on holiday for a while and didn’t get any images of May ūüė¶

JUNE

 

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JULY

 

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Nature is truly claiming back the house. It’s getting increasingly difficult to take photos especially in the same composition. Before I was able to stand on the little rock for a viewpoint, now I am blocked by all the foilage and plants that have grown up pushing me back as though to say it is natures house now.

It is astounding to see the diverse collection of plants and flowers that have been born and withered back to the ground in a matter of months. Every time I look a new plant has taken the place of the last. It is the definition of a transition, yet the transition is happening at an incredible pace.

I’m glad I focused on four specific elements. The house is the major point but I also photograph the table and radio, the interior and the childs bike everytime. The child’s bike is completely covered, I can only just see a glimpse of the wheel.

The table was knocked over after a month or so and the interior is clogged with thick leaves and black sludge and something that looks very unappealing.

I feel I should have captured an image every week as opposed to every month (I’m still trying to find out what happened to May) I need to organise better. So much has happened in such a short time and I feel I haven’t captured that. In future I will photograph every week so I can capture all the changes.

I will focus on capturing more artistic images and at different times, early morning, evening etc.

Posted in Assignment 6 ~ Transitions, Coursework

Assignment Six – After we are gone – placing the house

What will happen when we are gone?
It is perhaps a macabre, daunting or fantastical thought to contemplate yet is the basis for my Assignment Six Transitions. There is no saying when the human race will die out or indeed if, but only a quick look at the figures show that the world is growing at an expeditious rate, babies are born every second, an average of 350,000 a day according to a UNICEF report. There is no comprehensible way that the planet can sustain such life for long. In an interview with the Big Think, Stephen Hawking discussed his fears for the future of the human race.
“It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let’s hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load.
A hundred years is not within my lifetime but it certainly may be possible for children I know, my own future children or grandchildren. Will people continue to have many children or will they stop and think of the future they are creating. The world they are preparing for their children?
Steven Hawking argues that we need to look beyond planet earth to sustain this planet, to inhabit other planets in the solar system.
With this in mind, this is why my Assignment will take on a dark note. What will happen when we are gone?
As well as the transitions of the landscape and how nature reclaims the house, I am putting a literary narration on it. I‚Äôve created a separate blog¬†here¬†written in the first person, it‚Äôs set in the¬†future where everyone is gone but just the protagonist (an artist) and her sister (a scientist) are the only ones left and they come across the abandoned house. I will update the blog fortnightly and create a story through that with photos and drawings to make it as real as possible. It’s hard not to be excited about this. My expectations are
  • That the house will slowly be choked with vegetation reminiscent of Chernobyl.
  • The furniture in the house will either be swept away, trapped inside or will become homes
  • Insects and perhaps even mammals will use the place as a safe harbour. Maggots may thrive, spiders will decorate the walls and windows with their deadly art.

I think it will still stay true to its purpose and become a home for all sorts of wildlife and vegetation.

I photoshopped two of my photos with a double exposure of trees to create a mysterious cover image
About us
I have placed my Playmobil chalet house in the garden. I ran through possibilities of a plot of land to place the house. It was important that once placed there was to be no intrusion, no controlling the plants that grow, moving anything to make it more aesthetically pleasing. It is to be dealt in a scientific way and indeed, Amber, my science loving sister is working alongside me and we are treating it as a true scientific experiment.
I chose the corner of the garden where there was little vegetation, that way I could start with a blank canvas to be sure. I relocated a crocus or two to place the house, set up the scene and took my first photo.
This house, surroundings and plants will not be moved, edited or in any way interfered with.
The house is a¬†Playmobil¬†chalet and I‚Äôve placed a table and chair in it. There is a plate on the table as though the owners were going to sit down and eat before something happened. I wanted it to have a Mary Celeste air. The only thing that says something is amiss is the mug knocked over and the doors wide open. I’ve also placed a patio table outside of the house with a radio and bowl.
Obviously, it is a miniature house so there is a certain amount of imagination required when the scale of plants will reveal the true size of the house (I did go down the route of miniature people living in the house but decided to leave it ambiguous instead)
However I was interested in the photo novella, “‚ÄúOnce Upon A Time In Kazimierz‚ÄĚ depicting the life of a Jewish family, staged inside a dolls house using photography. I will review this in the next blog post.¬†IMG_7601
Posted in Assignment 6 ~ Transitions, Coursework, Part One ~ Beauty and the sublime

Exercise – 1.5 Visualising Assignment Six: Transitions

For this exercise, you’ll begin working on Assignment SixL Transitions.

To get started you’ll need to choose a location or specific view that you’ll revisit through the duration of this course

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 backup location so that you have a plan B in case anything hinders the development of your project.

Document your work within your learning log. You may wish to ask your tutor for feedback; do this when you submit your other assignments for feedback.

Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better” Albert Einstein¬†

I feel it important to label a project with a title so for the moment I shall be calling it ‘After‘ ¬†In the book ‘Behind the Image’ by Anna Fox and Natasha Caruana they stressed the importance of a title and how it defines the viewer’s response to an image. ¬†The example given has always stood out in my mind, a¬†photographic series of abandoned and boarded-up terrace houses was entitled, Nummianus. Without background knowledge, the name seems obscure however we learn it is taken from a Latin inscription discovered in a house destroyed by Pompeii. With this it takes on new meaning, we compare the people who lost their homes in the past to the present housing market decline.

 

nummianus-detail-lst069750
Numianus Рby Steffi Klenz 

 

There have been several factors that have caused the inspiration and brainchild for this assignment, the majority of those factors stemmed from Steve Backshall’s wild world show, which I will be reviewing,¬†though the main inspiration came from a Christmas Present. Shark Seas, ¬†by Steve Backshall which I will include a review of.¬†In the story, the main character Saker needed to hide from the enemy and hid out in the abandoned city of Chenobyl.¬†As Saker explored the city the imagery and descriptive writing was so vivid I was transfixed. Transported to this haunting world, perhaps an echo of what we may expect the future to reflect, what really held me was that now in the heart of such a tragic disaster nature was thriving.

 

A sapling had sprung up through the floorboards and was sprouting spring leaves out through the windows, growing from inside the building to outside. The wooden windowsill had rotted away and shoots and flowers had sprung through the mulch making bizzare¬†natural window boxes.”

He entered a space where the ceiling had fallen through¬†a room above that had clearly been a library. The floor was littered with tumble books, their paper pages yellowing and curling. A child doll stared blankly at Saker from its blue plastic eyes.”

How much better the world is without us…Chernobyl was perhaps our greatest mistake, our most destructive moment but nature bounced back…even here in this scorched, violated place, without man and his ceaseless desire to take take take…nature had found a way to return.”

 

Chernobyl@20
Photography by Gerd Ludwig

We take over nature but nature will take over us. It doesn’t need us to survive though we can not live without it. This is my thinking for the assignment.

 

The Plan

  • Purchase model house or dolls house (I ran the idea past a fellow course mate and he said a dolls house may work better to show more change. I looked at some of my old toys and found a Playmobil house)
  • Monitor the house over the year to see the changes it undergoes. I don’t want to focus on the changing of the seasons but the change physically happening to the house
  • Will it disappear into the undergrowth? Will flowers sprout inside or insects inhabit the empty rooms?
  • Perhaps I could go one step further and include furniture instead of composing from the outside of the house.
  • I could incorporate a deeper meaning.

Research

  • Photographers focusing on change, decay, the environment, abandonment.
  • Read poetry, books, explore the history of hidden places, photography employing model houses

Sources

Websites

http://www.gerdludwig.com/store/the-long-shadow-of-chernobyl-photo-book/

http://www.steffiklenz.co.uk/work/nummianus/?lang=en

Books

Behind the Image – Anna Fox and Natasha Caruana