Friday, 27 June 2014

At last...assignment 2

This assignment has taken an inordinate amount of time. I have wrestled with the material in the notes which is all about black and white social documentary images and have concluded that I simply do not have it in me to produce that kind of material. So my submission consists of eight images - as required - which use objects (albeit man-made) to try to illustrate the idea of legacy in a variety of ways.

How to portray legacy and provide a narrative in a single was an interesting challenge, especially when we throw in the int he need to provide 8 differing approaches so it seems helpful to provide a quick run-down here of the thought processes I went through in making the choices for the final edit:

  • Image 1: Text in images is a fairly obvious way to convey narrative and this is effectively a ready made. It talks about the legacy of the steel industry in a very succinct way so that it both stands alone as a demonstration of legacy and provides a useful intro to the set. I think the contrast between the rather dramatic industrial image, and the rather soft trees and relatively uncluttered surroundings add to a sense of discussing something in the past so that the text and the context work together to deliver the message more effectively.
  • Image 2: As people have observed these look like fossils - which makes them symbolic of times past. They are clearly items left behind by the industry.
  • Image 3: Barbed wire security fences and rust combine to tell a story of a past which is now locked away out of sight. Each of the items have elements of cliche which make this fairly easy to read - this is a past we'd prefer not to discuss.
  • Image 4: More use of text, this time to set up an element of time passing in the image. The Oxford Picture House - clearly a building of some age - has found a new use as a pub. The fact that the name refers to the inventor of the process that made Workington famous is an added bonus. Unlike Image 1 where the text is the primary vehicle for the narrative, in this case it is the manner in which the text is presented that does the work. I also feel this image sits in opposition to Image 1. The latter carries an element of respect, whereas I can't help but feel that Image 4 illustrates a slightly cynical appropriation of a legacy for commercial benefit.
  • Image 5: I liked the slight element of humour or tension in this picture - the Steelmen's Walk now has a new look - which tells a story of development and perhaps positive legacy by contrast with Image 3, and without the cynical undertones of Image 4.
  • Image 6: References the Steel Men themselves. It is clearly a memorial which represents the sacrifice of people in times past to provide a better future for their descendants.
  • Image 7: Is also a ready made, and places the industry and it's legacy in the heart (and soul) of the community. Stained glass windows are traditionally thought of as old and associated with history and that feeds the narrative of an industrial heritage or legacy.
  • Image 8: Uses the metaphor of twilight to talk about the end of the industry. It could also be read as a reference to photographic legacy as it quotes fairly heavily from Adam's Moon Rise, Hernandez.

Editing this set produced some difficult choices. There are certainly images of the legacy which I prefer in my collection, but they generally require significant prior knowledge of the processes or history to be read easily, and that feels likely to defeat the purpose of this exercise.

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