Assignment 5 – Photography is Simple



There are two fundamentals in all picture taking – where to stand and when to release the shutter … so photography is very simple.

(Jay & Hurn, 2001, p.37)


So  photography  is  simply  viewpoint  and  moment…  but  what  about  subject?  The  simplest subject is the moment. You can record the moment with a snapshot, but when you  review  the  photograph  later  you  find  you  didn’t  actually  record  the  moment,  you just recorded the ‘event of photography’.

It might take a very long time to simplify the whole world and its infinite framings into a subject that makes sense to you. Robert Adams said, ‘Sooner or later one has to ask of all pictures what kind of life they promote’ (Grundberg, 1999, p.34).  For now, though, you should just feel comfortable with your subject. It should say something about you and, in the end, you like it!


Take a series of 10 photographs of any subject of your own choosing.  Each photograph must be a unique view of the same subject; in other words, it must contain some ‘new information’  rather  than  repeat  the  information  of  the  previous  image.   Pay  attention to the order of the series; if you’re submitting prints, number them on the back. There should be a clear sense of development through the sequence.

 Assignment notes

In  your  assignment  notes  explore  why  you  chose  this  particular  subject  by  answering the  question  ‘What  is  it  about?’  Write  about  300  words.  Your  response  to  the  question doesn’t have to be complicated; it might be quite simple (but if you can answer in one word then you will have to imaginatively interpret your photographs for the remaining 299!).  Make sure you word process and spellcheck your notes as they’re an important part of the assignment.

For  this  assignment  it  is  important  that  you  send  a  link  (or  scanned  pages)  to  the contextual exercise (Exercise 5.2) for your tutor to comment on within their report.

What is it About?


This title collage is designed to give an idea of the subject of my assignment – then and now in the Laxey Valley and in particular the demise of metal mining and the diversification into tourism.  In viewing the remaining images the viewer needs to take into account the following as outlined by Barrett ( [accessed 02/07/2017])

Internal context:  Each image has something from the Laxey valley and some connection to mining (the motorcross rider was heading to the Snaefell Mine).  I tried to add some ‘punctum’ by including people where I could.

External context:  Some of the images are set in the valley which gives the context of the location of the mines and wheel; the weather was generally a bright day with harsh light hence the lack of shadows in most photos.  The last photo is intended to show some of the negative impact of tourism (my tutor suggested ‘mass’ tourism – numbers are small on the Isle of Man!).

Original context:  The images of the ruins were made after a 3 mile trek in hot sun up the valley to the site of the Snaefell mine with camera and tripod in tow.  I tried to get different viewpoints of the ruins.  I have turned these into sepia to give the idea of the past and in one case made a composite in photoshop in order to give the idea of a miner.  I deliberately chose to have the now (or tourist) photos in colour as a contrast.  The first photo was taken using HDR mode on the camera due to the light conditions and a need to bracket.


The rest of the ruins were in a harsh almost midday light much like Michael Schmidt ( -about-my-way-of working-1979.html  [accessed 02/07/2017]).


The link to Exercise 5.2 is

Further information and reflections (including reflections on the whole course) can be found at:



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