Category Archives: ASSIGNMENT 5

Assignment 5 – reworked

Following the original feedback from Clive, my tutor I did considerable re-working of this assignment in order to put it into a photobook as suggested.  I had thought of a photobook myself but had thought I was restricted to the 10 photos and word count outlined in the course book.

I did a draft of the re-worked assignment and sent this to Clive for further feedback.  He e-mailed me the following response:

“Hi Joy

I’ll write about it as I look through…

I would use just the image in the top left corner to cover  the whole of the front cover because it includes the then and the now, in the sense that it’s a popular re-enactment and then use a less fancy font.

Something like this…

 

Don’t put that it’s an assignment in the book, you can say that on the blog or in any accompanying text but not in the book.

It needs to be treated as if it was a book ready for publication and sale to people interested in the subject matter.

As such don’t put references or links in, these can all go on the blog or a separate piece of writing slipped into the book for assessors to read.

Decide on a couple of different double page spread layouts and stick rigorously to them.

Layouts are traditionally divided into columns and the number of columns is kept consistent through the whole book. There are a couple of rules which apply…

Text will start at the top of one column, it doesn’t have to be the first and then run down until it’s filled that column then it will go to the top of the next column to the right and fill down again.

Pictures can only go over a whole number of columns. The opening page, Snaefell Mine, is roughly three columns, the image spread over two and the text running down the third.

That’s one sort of layout, used in a spread the left hand page could mirror the right hand so that the images are in the middle and the text on the edges.

The next layout has two opposing images. This is another sort of layout so that’s two. They should both have a little two or three word caption, just so we and they don’t feel abandoned like the mine.

On the next spread we’ve got a hybrid of what’s gone before. It’s OK but now on the right we’ve got a two column layout but divided two thirds to one third in favour of the text. The photograph always needs to be the star being flattered by the text.

In the next spread we’re kind of going back to the second spread but the two images are different sizes, they should be the same and keep the captioning and titles either beside of below the images.

Colour popping won’t be appreciated by the assessors. Instead I think you could keep the ‘contemporary’ industrial imagery in the cool B&W to play against the sepia ‘heritage’ photography and reserve all colour for the people at Laxey fair.

So I would say reduce the number of different lay out styles which you have to two or three and apply the rules rigorously, foregrounding the images. Don’t use colour popping and it would be a good idea to add a couple more images about the downsides of attracting tourists.

Enjoy your weekend!

Regards

Clive”

I have taken Clive’s advice on board and turned the Laxey Wheel photos into cool black and white images.

I have made some more composite images using the children from the Laxey Fair in the sepia photos.  The one with the railway carriage is also a composite – the railway carriage is in fact a monument in garden in the village.

I have struggled  to find a down side to tourism but have included images of a typical Saturday afternoon in Laxey.

At times of motor sport events there is a vastly increased population and the cafes won’t be quite so empty looking and the parking area will be full of motor bikes.

The photos used in the book are as follows in the order in the book – where a new topic is introduced I have put some text about what the images are about.

FRONT COVER

IMG_8180v2

SNAEFELL MINE

The remains of Snaefell Mine are at the furthest point in the valley above the old mining villages of Laxey and Agnesh and it is tucked under the highest
point of the Isle of Man.

Zinc was mined here and it was the sight of the worst mining disaster on the island in 1897. Extraction of the ore began in 1856.
In the area there were the following buildings; the Mine Captain’s house, two cottages, an agent’s office, a smithy, a lead store and a carpenter’s workshop. The ruins of these buildings still stand and are shown in some of the images overleaf.
The mine went through several changes of ownership due to financial difficulties and by 1897 there were also problems with ventilation in the shaft. Disaster occurred when a candle had been left burning which used up the oxygen turning leaving only carbon monoxide in the shaft. This led to breathing difficulties and although many made it back to the surface around 20 miners perished in the mine.
The mine was able to be re-opened but it limped along and closed permanently in 1908.

 

RUINS AGNEASH VILLAGE

Throughout the Laxey Valley there are a number of remains of buildings from the mining days. Agneash village which is high above the town of Laxey has a number of these. In Laxey itself the cottages have been renovated with colourful paint. Interestingly the cottages are called Ham and Egg Terrace and Dumbells Row!

THE GREAT LAXEY MINE
This mine lies in the Laxey glen in an almost intact condition although only the small section to the right is open to the general public. It was an important sites of the industrial revolution for Great Britain employing 500 men at its height and produced 1/5th of the total output of zinc as well as copper and lead. Historical records show that it is likely that the first ore was located as early as 1770. Much like the Snaefell mine, there were difficulties in extracting the ore; this time caused by the nearby river. In one incident five men were drowned and there was a further incident in 1901 when the mine flooded. Four men were also killed when a wooden roadway gave way. Mining in the area was at its height in the 1850’s and a new washing floor and the Great Laxey Wheel (known as the Lady Isabella) were put in. The mine pones were put to rest with the introduction of two small steam trains Bee and Ant.

However, events in Cornwall, England also impacted on the Laxey mine with the miners going on strike in sympathy. This was no short period with the strike lasting 3 years following which time 16 men tried to keep the mine

operating but rising waters and old pumps meant by 1929 the main mine had to be closed although until 1934 there was still some production from loose ore in the upper levels.

 

 

 

The Laxey Wheel today is one of the Isle of Man’s tourist attractions. After the closure of the mine it lay abandoned for many years. It was purchased by the Isle of Man government in 1965 for the princely sum of £5000 and was given an overhaul and the water supply was re-connected before being opened in a ‘grand ceremony’. Further development of the area as a tourist attraction gained impetus in 1984 when the surrounding area was cleared for a tourist trail – this trail runs from the Laxey Wheel area all the way up to the remains of the Snaefell mine. The Wheel is believed to possibly be the largest working wheel of its type in the world.

THE TRISKELION

The front of theWheel has the triskelion on it which is also part of the Manx flag. However, the one on the Wheel is unusual as the feet on the legs are opposite to the usual one that is seen elsewhere on the island – no doubt a mistake too expensive to fix.

The flag with this symbol on it has been used since 1932 and is based on the Manx coat of arms dating from the 13th century. No one is sure why this symbol was adopted on the island.

LAXEY FAIR
The Laxey fair is an annual attraction for both residents and tourists alike and is a day where the history of the valley is remembered and celebrated. Apart from the mining history the area was a market town where local farmers could sell their produce. In the 19th century the fair was held on the washing floor of the mines and was held on Good Friday enabling the miners to attend. The fair is still held in the same place but the Lady Evelyn and a park are now in this area.
The modern fair continues to have a component where the local school children replicate the clothing of bygone days and sing old mining songs. I have transported some of the children into the ruined buildings in the first part of this book.
“When Laxey was a mining village many years ago,
There were 600 miners working under Captain Rowe
The bottom of the mineshaft was below the water line
So they had to build a wheel to pump the water from the mine.

(Chorus):And the Laxey Wheel keeps turning, turning, turning,
In Lady Isabella’s memory,
And while the water flows
The Laxey Wheel still goes
And the Laxey river runs down to the sea.

For three quarters of a century there were fortunes lost and found
As miners dug the lead and zinc from underneath the ground,
Then came a great depression in 1929
And the miners drew their wages for the last time at the mine

(Chorus)

It’s stood now for a 100 years through wind, snow, rain and drought,
And it will keep on turning till the sands of time run out,
And though the main mine building is no more than a shell
The Wheel still stands majestic in the shadow of Snaefell.

(Chorus)”

MANX FOLK DANCERS

One of the traditions at the fair is the performance of the Manx Folk Dance Society. This society was formed in 1951 and continues to take responsibility for the preservation and teaching of Manx dancing.

CHEER LEADERS
The Fair also celebrates more modern times as depicted by the Island Cheer Club which has been in existance since October 2011 and aims at developing the skills of chair leaders while giving the young people opportunities to have fun.

THE MOUNTAIN RAILWAY
Another tourist attraction in the area is the Mountain Railway which begins it’s journey in Laxey. The railway began operation in 1895 and climbs up the steep gradient of 2000 feet to the top of Snaefell – the island’s only mountain. From the tram you can catch sight of the Laxey Wheel and the old Snaefell mine. The railway runs over the summer and there is a café at the top

The Isle of Man is a small island, 32 miles long by around 10 miles wide with a population of 83,000. Over the winter months it is very quiet with few visitors. The biggest influx of tourists is during the famous TT (Tourist Trophy) motor bike racing which goes over a two week period at the beginning of summer. There are a number of other events over the summer that also attract a level of tourism and the island is now trying to attract cruise ships to stop over here. I began work on this assignment after the TT racing had finished but at that time the area of parking where the bus is in the following photo will be covered in motor bikes as most of the riders use the Mountain Railway to get up to the Mountain Road below Snaefell to watch the racing. This does mean more difficulties for parking for the local residents and extra noise. When the racing is not on, on an ordinary day you might have an extra bus or two in this area. The Mountain Railway does squeal as it goes up and down the mountain.

There could be a concern about the growth of public houses and cafes in the area and whether there would be an increase in issues around intoxication. However, as can be seen on a sunny Saturday afternoon in August the numbers frequenting these establishments is small. Both would be busier during one of the motor sports events but there is a high police presence at these times to manage any issues.

Again one might think that there will be only specialist souvenir shops in a tourist area making it difficult for the locals to shop – this is the one and only gift shop – not a hive of activity! It is difficult to source some goods on the island but not due to tourism but rather the high cost of freighting goods across the Irish Sea by ferry – these days online shopping solves this!

So to answer the question overall in this small town on a small island tourism does not on the whole bring problems and indeed is seen as a positive for the local economy.

BACK COVER

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Isle of Man Government (2013).  At https://www.gov.im/media/626699/isleofmantourismvisitoreconomy.pdf (accessed 12/8/2017).

Laxey Mines Research Group (Unknown).  At http://www.manxmines.com/LAXEY%20MINE.htm (accessed 14/06/2017).

Laxey Mines Research Group (Unknown).  At http://www.manxmines.com/SNAEFELL%20MINE.htm (accessed 14/06/2017).

Stuart Slack (unknown) http://www.isleofman.com/welcome/manx-language-symbols/manx-songs,-rhymes-prayers/the-laxey-wheel-song/. (accessed 12/08/2017)

Wikipedia (28/05/2017) At https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laxey_Wheel (accessed 14/06/2017).

Wikipedia (15/07/2017) At https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_Isle_of_Man (accessed 12/08/2017)

Wikipedia (09/08/2017) At https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snaefell_Mine (accessed 12/08/2017).

 

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Feedback from Tutor

Formative feedback
Overall Comments
A good idea which needs further development.

Feedback on assignment
A good reference to Barrett and context is the key to it. Everything around the images is read in the same way that the images are; hence the montage, while not enhancing the individual images has all the hallmarks of a picture postcard aimed at tourists.

The aesthetic/technical approach is also part of the context and I think your aged photographs are particularly convincing; the sepia being the least of it. The lighting contrast, the choice of subject matter and the composition all play into it.  But something extra happens when an incongruity is introduced, as in the case of the
little boy dressed up as a miner. Normally I would say it was a pity that his feet are cropped through but here it adds to the uncanniness of the image as if he’s just appeared there from the future while referencing the past and even he’s looking confused about what s happening. This is the most striking image you ve made so far in your OCA work. Excellent! Use it as a springboard for further insight. Think about the qualities it has which pick it out from
the other images and look for those characteristics when you re working.
In that service I think you have the kernel of a good idea here that could be a fine culmination to your EYV but you need to do more. The brief specifies 10 images but really that’ s a minimum and if it s only 10 then one needs more variation. For example
images 2 and 3 are covering much the same ground but could work very well as a double page spread in a book with more images. These days students quite often do a book for the final assignment.
I can see the rationale for the colour images being of a type that the tourist might take but I think they can serve that purpose while being undercut with some detail.
Something which disrupts the serenity of the image by being not supposed to be there; dragging the heritage attraction dream back into reality.
So I would say yes you ve got a good workable idea there but you need to do several more sessions on it to give yourself a wider choice of images, images which follow on from your key image of the child miner and think about how best to present it to
impress the assessors with your progress.

You can always ask me to have a look at reworkings on your blog and comment.
Which brings me to something I m not sure if we’ve covered before but the tutor reports are provisional and you re free to rework any of the assignments before submitting them for assessment, in the light of your experience so far.
In assessment that’s considered a positive not a negative. Rather than tweaking you can start all over again and redo an assignment from scratch if you wish. Just explain your thinking on the blog.

Coursework
The coursework is carefully executed as always and there s a great vivacity to the shoot you did with the girls which I think does demonstrate your rapport with them and it ‘s not easy to control a group of models like that so well done!

Research
Keeping adding material to this category up until submission for assessment, reviews of reading, gallery visits and relevant radio, film and TV; the more the better.

Learning Log
It s good you followed my advice about self reflection. Feel free to write more about how you see your place as a photographer in the context of the spectrum of contemporary serious photography. Who, working today would you align yourself with for example and why.

Suggested reading/viewing
See research above.

Pointers for the next assignment / assessment
There is no next assignment but feel free to email me on anything between now and submitting for assessment.
From now on all students are required to send a portfolio of prints of all the final images to assessment. Here’s a little reminder of the format from the Assignment 1 report….

…they should be on a matt or semi-matt A4 paper with generous white borders for handling, a minimum of 3.5cm on A4 paper. Include the border in the digital file for accurate cropping and positioning.  For the assessment they should be presented
unmounted and unsleeved in a clam shell box such as this…
http://shop.silverprint.co.uk/Silverprint-Archival-Portfolio-Box-
A4/product/10994/AT1385/
To remove any doubt the top of the box is the bigger half of the clamshell. I m still seeing people in assessment who prepare them upside down, assuming that the smaller half of the clamshell is the lid, making them very difficult to open.

Tutor name Clive White
Date 24/7/17
Next assignment due Completed

Assignment 5 – Photography is Simple

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!

Brief

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 (www.terrybarrettosu.com/pdfs/B_PhotAndCont_97.pdf [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.

THEN…

The rest of the ruins were in a harsh almost midday light much like Michael Schmidt (www.americansuburbx.com/2010/10/michael-schmidt-thoughts -about-my-way-of working-1979.html  [accessed 02/07/2017]).

NOW …

The link to Exercise 5.2 is  https://joysphotographyblog.wordpress.com/category/coursework/part-5

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

https://joysphotographyblog.wordpress.com/category/research-reflection/notes/