Monday, 1 February 2010

Photographic Half-Mile

So the new lunchtime project is to photograph every street within a half-mile radius of my office. How much progress have I made so far? Not a great deal. The thing about doing something like this is that you need to prepare. I have done a little walking and I have been thinking about what to photograph but not taking many photographs yet. I have been procrastinating a little using the fact that I hadn't worked out the boundaries of the area as my excuse. But Now I don't have that excuse because I have updated my map with a half-mile boundary.

This is the same map that I used for my previous lunchtime walk project. The outer circle is a mile in radius and the red square is the boundary of my initial goal which I completed within 4 months of starting. As you can see, the half-mile marker fits well within the red square so it shouldn't be too challenging to get out there and take photos.

The real challenge will be deciding what to shoot. Bear in mind that I am doing this at lunchtime, so I'm not going to have the best lighting and quite frankly some of these streets are not very exciting. So I'm going to take some inspiration from one of my favourite photobooks, Barbershops by Tally Abecassis and Claudine Sauvé. In their book they took detail shots and straight record shots organising then into typologies. I suspect that this took some planning on their part, perhaps a checklist of things to shoot, so I will work on a plan myself. The lovely thing about typologies is that quite often the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, which means that even the most unpromising street will be able to contribute something to the project even if its just a doornob and the street sign.

  • Streetnames
  • Blue Plaques
  • Door Numbers
  • Stone Faces
  • Railings
  • Bollards
  • Boobies
  • Swastikas

The last two items might seem a little odd, but there are many topless buildings and statues in the area. And there are buildings that incorporate the swastika as part of their decoration. I'll also be looking for details of things that can be isolated and viewed as an beautiful image unsupported by others of its kind. I'll take them as I find them.

Of course if I were to just photograph details, you would get no sense of place, so I will also be photographing a wide shot of the street. If I try and use the same angle and focal length for each shot I should be able to connect all the street photos in some way. Again I'm not sure how good I'll be able to make these wide shots. It will definitely be a challenge.

Perhaps more promising will be the middling shots, these will show an area or activity on the street and provide a link between the detail and the wide shots. The sort of thing I might shoot would be traders at leather lane, or an individual building. There should be a lot more scope for variation, and many of the buildings are beautiful but tend to get lost in the crowded landscape

So thats the plan. No more excuses now I have to go out and shoot that half-mile

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