I had walked up to Snaefell Mine on several occasions and have a view of the Laxey Wheel from my garden but knew very little about the history of the area so during the course of undertaking the assignment I read a little more about the type of mining in the area – zinc and other metals. I had understood there had been a mining disaster and assumed this had closed the mines. There was a disaster at the Snaefell Mine where 19 men were killed in 1897 but the mine limped on for a few more years and eventually closed in 1908 due to the metals becoming depleted.
The Laxey Wheel is a water generated wheel as there was not enough coal on the Isle of Man to have steam generated power. It is affectionately known as the ‘Lady Isabella’.
For those who are interested the following sites give further information about the history of the area:
http://www.manxmines.com/LAXEY%20MINE.htm (accessed 10/06/2017)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laxey (accessed 10/06/2017)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snaefell_Mine (accessed 10/06/2017)
It was a matter of luck that the historic Laxey Fair was also held during this period. The leaflet provided on payment of the £1 admission fee gives some history of the fair – it harks back to when the local farmers brought livestock for sale. The Fair grew with the growth of mining and was then held on the washing floor – the same site is used today but it has transformed into the lower Laxey gardens. Funds from the various stalls go to charitable organisations. Laxey School children dress in period costumes and perform at the Fair along with other local dance groups including the Manx folk dancers (formed in 1951).
I also undertook some research on photographing ruins:
https://www.ephotozine.com/article/how-to-photograph-ruins-in-5-easy-steps-14763 (accessed 7/5/2017)
http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/5534/ruins-relics-turn-decay-beauty/ (accessed 7/5/2017)
I had hoped to undertake the photography on a misty or grey cloudy day to add to the atmosphere when undertaking the photography at Snaefell Mine – however it was a bright cloudless day so the photography had to be more like Michael Schmidt’s work:
(www.americansuburbx.com/2010/10/michael-schmidt-thoughts -about-my-way-of working-1979.html [accessed 02/07/2017]).
Demonstration of technical and visual skills – I believe I tried to show some different technical styles in this assignment. I used the manual mode on the camera which required me to think about both shutter speed and aperture. Most of the images required a sharp picture so I used an aperture of f11 with a fast shutter speed. The main exception to this was the image of the moving water wheel where I used a slow shutter speed in order to show the movement of the wheel and the water. I thought about the composition of each image – for example using the stream and waterfalls as a lead in line to the old ruins.
Quality of outcome – Throughout the assignment I tried to tell the story of this small part of the Isle of Man and the history of mining and the diversification into tourism (albeit on a small scale) when the mining industry met its demise in the early 20th century. I have made this jump clearer by changing from old style sepia photos into colour for the modern day tourist photos. I attempted to add punctum where I could by including people. This was more difficult with the ruins as there were no people in the vicinity when I was taking the photos. This led me to try a composite photo by adding a child dressed as a miner taken on the day of the Laxey Fair.
Demonstration of creativity – this has been an area I have struggled more with but on reflection think I have begun to develop this more in both Assignment 4 and this assignment by hopefully getting people to think about what they are seeing.
Context – It was difficult with the word limit to demonstrate debates around this type of photography so I tried to achieve this through the images and by explaining the context of the photos in Terry Barrett’s terms.