Part 4. Project 4. Ex 3

In this exercise I am to look at two images and compare what I can see to a ground level landscape, a map or Google Earth and make some brief notes.

Myles66.files.wordpress.com. (2019). [online] Available at: https://myles66.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/derek-trillo-the-cheshire-plain-from-beeston-castle-2008.png [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].

This image is ‘The Cheshire Plain from Beeston Castle’ by Derek Trillo.

This style of image gives a better overview of the environs but no real detail. We cannot tell the height of the objects in the frame or much about the topography of the landscape. Very little human interaction with the landscape can be displayed.

The above link leads to an image of Beeston Castle via the Google Earth satellite. The landscape is completely flat, there is no indication at all of ground features or topography. Terrain types can be guessed at such as fields and woods etc. No human interaction with the landscape can be displayed.

The above image is of Beeston Castle using Google street view. This gives a good indication of the conditions of the immediate area. Some topography is apparent, basic details of the scenery can be seen. This method fails to show overall size of the site, its relation to its environment. It is more likely to be the method used in order to display humans interacting with the site.

When looking at a city there are the opposite problems. It is far easier to show human interaction with the environment than to show the site itself. Particular buildings come to represent an entire town or city because the entire place itself cannot be displayed together in any great detail. A birds eye view of a town would show the entire place but o detail. There would be no way to differentiate between the heights of buildings and the topography that might have affected building choices. A ground level street view is highly limited in what it can display to the viewer. A city scape from a raised elevation is the best way to present a city, it can provide some depth, some detail, and a bit more of a sense of place.

I was then directed to look at the image ‘Agecroft Power Station, Salford’ by John Davies and to make some notes.

Phillips. (2019). John Davies – Agecroft Power Station, Salford, 1983 | Phillips. [online] Available at: https://www.phillips.com/detail/john-davies/UK040215/80 [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].

The photo being taken from th elevated position gives the image a sense of depth. The juxtaposition of the chimmneys next to the power lines and football match certainly gives a sense of scale!

Taking this shot from ground level would have reduced the sense of grandeur that the chimneys have. It would also have reduced the amount of detail in the image such as the car park in the foreground or the hills in the distance.

Taking the image from closer to the tower would potentially have reduced the available context, as the image is, we can see the tower receding back towards the horizon.

Seeing the football match being played immeadiatley drew me back to the work of Mitch Epstein in American Power.

Poca High School and Amos Coal Power Plant, West Virginia 2004
Mitchepstein.net. (2019). American Power – Mitch Epstein. [online] Available at: http://mitchepstein.net/american-power#/id/i9844483 [Accessed 29 Oct. 2019].

The above image illustrates exactly what it would look like to take such a shot from nearer ground level. The grandeur of the chimneys is lost as the focus of the viewer is transferred to the foreground interest.

Initially I thought that potentially this change o focus might be because of the vivid colour of the football shirts. To test this I dropped the saturation from Epstiens image and found that the focus it still on the foreground. A slightly elevated viewpoint definetley gives for greater drama!

Part 4. Project 4. Research Point: New Topographics/Forbidden Land

In this exercise I am to look at the work of Robert Adams and Fay Godwin, note down my responses to them and discuss whether or not this research will influence my own choice of subject in future.

I first looked at the work of Mitch Epstien in American Power. The juxtaposition of elements representing lush countryside and the industrial applications that humans use to damage the planet are easy to see and understand.

Amos Coal Power Plant, Raymond City, West Virginia 2004
Mitchepstein.net. (2019). American Power – Mitch Epstein. [online] Available at: http://mitchepstein.net/american-power#/id/i9844482 [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

The images which clearly show the pollution or steam billowing up from big chimneys into the sky whilst people are engaged in healthy activities around them, raises the question of what the human race is doing to itself as well as the planet.

I fully understand the point that Epstien is making and agree completely. This is not a topic I would choose to explore myself because its all just a little bit depressing. It is a subject that people know needs addressing but they won’t whilst money is still the key factor.

I then looked at the work of Fay Godwin.

Initially I looked at her work ‘Forbidden Land’. The focus here is very much on the idea that people are attempting to restrict access to large areas of natural countryside. There is a focus on the act of fencing off, or privatising the space as opposd to the space itself.

GODWIN_3
PHOTOWALK. (2019). FORBIDDEN LAND. [online] Available at: https://paulwalshphotographyblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/forbidden-land/ [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

In this image the sign with the word Private is made to look almost ridiculous by its size, dwarfed in comparison to the surrounding landscape.

GODWIN_2
PHOTOWALK. (2019). FORBIDDEN LAND. [online] Available at: https://paulwalshphotographyblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/forbidden-land/ [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

In this image there is a long list of forbidden actions, again displayed on a piece of wood which is dwarfed by the beauty of nature. Who are people to say that you cannot have access to the natural world? In this case walkers on footpaths are still permitted but I have seen plenty where they have had their access denied by landowners with physical obstacles.

I then looked at her later work imagining that it would be the same sort of thing. Instead I found that she seems to have focused on the drama of the English landscape, it’s beauty and complexity as opposed to its relationship with man made structures. There are several images that include man made elements but they seem to support the landscape rather than detract from it. In the image below, though the house is the only man made object within the frame, it does not steal the attention of the viewer. The focus is still on the sky and the wild grasses in the foreground. The house aids with depth in the image whilst not becoming the focus.

No Man's Land - Fay Godwin's last interview
Ltd, M. (2019). No Man’s Land – Fay Godwin’s last interview. [online] ePHOTOzine. Available at: https://www.ephotozine.com/article/no-man-s-land—fay-godwin-s-last-interview-67 [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].
Entrance to park in Bradford by Fay Godwin
British Library Prints. (2019). Entrance to park in Bradford. [online] Available at: https://prints.bl.uk/collections/fay-godwin-archive/products/entrance-to-park-in-bradford-c13527-96 [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

In this image the beauty of the natural landscape beyond is artificially fenced off from the viewer with the concrete bollards. They seem almost unreal in contrast with the stunning colors of the autumnal landscape beyond. The lone animal foraging through the leaves is a point of focus for the eye to travel to on its journey around the frame.

The bollard somehow makes the scene beyond almost unreachable by the viewer, as though we are trapped behind an invisible wall, unable to escape from the urban zone into the countryside beyond.

Tate. (2019). New topographics – Art Term | Tate. [online] Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/n/new-topographics [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

Frieze.com. (2019). New Topographics. [online] Available at: https://frieze.com/article/new-topographics [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

Fraenkel Gallery. (2019). Robert Adams | Fraenkel Gallery. [online] Available at: https://fraenkelgallery.com/artists/robert-adams [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

Mitchepstein.net. (2019). American Power – Mitch Epstein. [online] Available at: http://mitchepstein.net/american-power-intro [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

Parkin, T. (2019). Fay Godwin. [online] On Landscape. Available at: https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2011/01/master-photographer-fay-godwin/ [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

Council, B. (2019). FAY GODWIN LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHS | Current | Exhibitions | British Council − Visual Arts. [online] Visualarts.britishcouncil.org. Available at: http://visualarts.britishcouncil.org/exhibitions/exhibition/fay-godwin-landscape-photographs-1984 [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

frost, a. (2019). Harthope Valley in The Cheviots – A nod to Fay Godwin. [online] alan frost photography. Available at: https://alanfrostphotography.com/2018/10/28/harthope-valley-in-the-cheviots-a-nod-to-fay-godwin/ [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

Ltd, M. (2019). No Man’s Land – Fay Godwin’s last interview. [online] ePHOTOzine. Available at: https://www.ephotozine.com/article/no-man-s-land—fay-godwin-s-last-interview-67 [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].

PHOTOWALK. (2019). FORBIDDEN LAND. [online] Available at: https://paulwalshphotographyblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/forbidden-land/ [Accessed 24 Oct. 2019].