Two sides of the story
First side of the story – Rural S66
Second side of the story – Industrial S66
I have gained my inspiration for this project predominantly from two sources. Firstly, a book written by Julian Baggini, entitled “Everytown” and secondly my first assignment from my Expressing Your Vision course, entitled “The Square Mile”. I will now provide the context to the above narrative of my ten images.
My home is in Rotherham and my postcode is S66 1WG. This very postcode was used by Baggini, a philosopher and author, for the basis of his afore-mentioned book. S66 1WG, is geographically and demographically, the middle of Britain. So Baggini set out to enjoy and explore life living in my area, which he did for six months. His aim was to establish what it is like to live in an average town in Britain (what it is to be typically British) and compare and contrast his new home, to his usual and familiar life, of living in Bristol. The Square Mile exercise also made me think about what is on my door step and how this can be photographed and explored.
The Square Mile theme has been expanded upon to cover S66, which is really the Hellaby ward for electoral purposes and is much wider than one square mile. In S66 there are a number of contrasts, rich/poor, elderly/young, dead/alive (due to a number of local cemeteries), black/white, male/female, schools/public houses, industrial areas/country side, people/empty spaces etc.
Photographing in an around my town attracts some interesting comments from its’ people, mainly abusive, but some inquisitive. Rotherham’s background is somewhat tainted by a number of issues and distrust from the general public, recently centring on the child abuse scandal, for which it has gained national notoriety, On this shoot, I have been sworn at, spat at from a lorry and stopped and asked what I was doing by a farmer’s wife.
I have decided to present just two sides of S66, Rural and Industrial. There are five photographs in each set. The story behind each set is intended as a juxtaposition to the other, one set documenting wide open green spaces, the other being closed down by steel fencing and a general feeling of industry. Which is the real S66?
I have kept the images in colour, with very little adjustment post production, other than the odd slight crop and a tweak of the shadows. Both series were shot on the same day and not in the order as they appear my final selects. Some of the selects are out of chronological order as I feel they work better that way. I believe the images work as two distinct sets of five images, and I also feel that each image contains its’ own narrative.
The reasons for the sequencing is as follows ; –
- I have viewed the set as contrasting pairs
- Pair 1 Both images contain strong lines. Rural has a strong leading line, leading the viewer into the field to the church in the distance, where as industrial one has vertical lines applying a prison like feeling inshore contrast to the rural image.
- Pair 2 Both images contain strong verticals and a similar amount of spring blue sky. However the signs that can be read in both images are very different.
- Pair 3 Green is the predominant colour of both images. Green of the grass against the green of the disused tug and the green weeds which are over growing it.
- Pair 4 Both images are filled with blue and green. One contains rural machinery in a rural setting were as the other has industrial machines in an industrial setting.
- Pair 5 Both images contain some sort of storage. The hay bails in the rural image and the chemical/refuse storage in the industrial setting. The rural image is showing a wide open view, where as the industrial image is framed by the factories fence. Note that both images do contain some sort of fencing/walls but there is a distinct difference in the way both work and are photographed. The rural image has nearly all of it in focus, compared to the industrial one, which only has a portion of the fence in focus, making you search the image for what it contains.
My contact sheets are in chronological order and my final edit was chosen after much reflection on which images to choose.
Having recently read a book on the work Martin Parr, I feel that there has been some influence from his later (colour) style and may be from the work of William Eggleston.
The images were shot from a different variety of angles and heights. All images were taken with a Nikon D750 and a 24-70 f2.8 Tamron lens. No filters were used and all images were handheld.