If you haven’t already realised, I’ve stolen the title for my project from Blur’s 1994 album. The actual song doesn’t relate to my images in any way, it’s too upbeat and I want my photographs to have a more emotionless feel to them.
Going into this project, I envisioned my final series would consist of around 5-7 photographs of parks as a whole, shot from a distance, with a large amount of sky in the frame.
The final outcome is of two different parks, broken down into five pieces of equipment. The images are a lot closer and a tighter crop than I originally intended, but as the project progressed, ideas changed. I could have chosen 7 final images, but I felt the 5 I have chosen work well, and adding another two images would weaken the set.
The physical prints I have produced in the darkroom are not technically pristine due to the scratches and emulsion marks which I have previously mentioned. The scale of the prints makes the marks very noticeable and a little distracting. I could have sent the touched up printable TIFFs I have created to be printed, which would have had no marks in them, but I am content that I decided to print the photographs myself as this allowed me to be in the darkroom once more.
In terms of contrast and tone, the photographs have a slightly more moody feel towards them than I wanted. I would have preferred a blank, flat, evenly lit sky with no clouds, but each time I planned to shoot the weather was not on my side. However, over the course of project I have grown to love this and feel it is needed within black and white photography.
I would have liked to of been able to shoot more photographs for this project as there are still many parks I didn’t get chance to capture. In total I ventured out three times with the 5x4 camera but I wanted to double this. I was limited to the amount of dark slides I could borrow as other students were shooting 5x4 too, which affected the amount of pictures I could make. Not being able to drive really effected the locations I could travel to and how often I could go out to shoot. The bigger, slowed down process of 5x4 film is very time consuming and I don’t think I was realistic enough when setting my goals for this project.
Overall, I am pretty happy with the work I have submitted (apart from the scratches in the prints) as I feel I have the signifies of a topographic landscape within my images. I have enjoyed working with my own written brief and having the independence to explore my own photography route.
Here is my final five photographs for the Park Life series.
Presenting an Image
Part of the criteria of the brief is to have ‘one finished piece ready to be exhibited’. Thinking of ways to present my image involved attempting to construct a frame from scratch. The vision I had in my head was to produce a frame which was bigger than my print, which would have small hooks inside the frame. The print would be suspended from these hooks with metal wire, allowing it to swing within the frame. If you haven’t already guessed it, this idea was inspired by the swings found inside parks.
Thinking about this idea in more depth, this is something I wouldn’t be able to achieve on my own. It would have looked very armature and I couldn’t figure out a way to actually fix the frame to the wall without being able to see the fixtures. Plus I would probably have wasted money on materials trying to build this frame and then not use it…when I could use the money wisely and leave it to the professionals.
I knew from the get go that I didn’t want glass in front of my print, as this would defeat the object of using pearl paper and would add shine. Glass in frames can work very well, but I find it causes reflections and can be distracting (see example above)
I also decided that I wanted my photograph within a frame as I feel this completes the look. To help enhance the flatness and the wide negative spaces within my prints, I intend to place my image in a white frame. The two inch white border on my prints, teamed with the white frame will add more negative space around my images. I debated about framing my print further with white mount board, but I think this would be overkill as the size of my print is very large as it is.
I looked around in homeware stores such as Dunelmill to see if they had any 20x24inch frames. This turned up nothing as it is a specific size so I had to have my frame hand made.
As I was pretty stressed after shopping around all day looking for a frame at no avail,I found a small shop in Middlesbrough called Custom Framing Art 4 All.I literally walked in and said “Can I have a white frame please?” I was that relieved they could make me one, I didn’t even mention I didn’t want glass for my frame and paid £35 on the spot for a 20x24inch white frame. I should have done my research and visited other custom frame shops to see what they could offer and at what price. I definitely wont just visit one shop for my major project!
Overall it is quite a decent frame, but you can tell it didn’t break the bank. I will be investing more into the presentation of my major project, and I most definitely will be researching other frame suppliers!
Working with film there’s always a possibility that it can get damaged… which every piece I have shot, has. There are scratches and emulsion marks on my film which has happened somewhere between loading the film and developing it myself in the deep tank.
It probably doesn’t help that I tried to load the same dark slide twice (note to self; don’t place the loaded slide back onto the pile that is to be loaded) which is most likely responsible for some of the scratches. Other possibilities for the scratches could be; the film holders which go into the deep tank cage- the clips which hold the film could have caught the film loaded behind when I was placing the new film into the cage ( I always struggle to load the holders parallel) or I could have caught the film with my nails, (maybe I should cut them right back when I’m working with film?)
Printing these negatives at 16x20inch on 20x24inch paper is going to make the scratches very noticeable which is something I am concerned about. I could scan the negatives in and remove the marks on photoshop and print the images digitally at the print space, but I have already invested quite a lot of money into a box of Ilford multigrade 20x24inch pearl paper (plus I like being in the darkroom.)
When I first started shooting, I initially was going to shoot the park as a whole, from a distance. During a tutorial it was brought to my attention that the park was very small and thin in ratio to the ground and sky, making it quite lost within the frame. It was suggested that I get closer and gain a higher vantage point, so I was looking down the park, to show more of the structure. I would of liked to have tested this out, but I wasn’t able to. Not being able to drive, and having to travel to these places by bus, with a 5x4 camera, a tripod and a bag with all the extras such as dark slides and a dark cloth, I physically couldn’t carry a set of ladders too.
I decided to get closer to my subject and break up the parks. Within a small group crit I received positive feedback about this approach and people seemed the prefer the closer crop images to the more distant, full frame ones.
Please excuse the quality of the photographs, mobile phones and low light don’t mix.