Some of the photographs from last weekends 24-7 shoot, I feel that some of the stronger images out of the ones I have taken are the ones that of the  garage itself or the car park outside.  I believe that the set will lack rest as I did not manage to get anything of him resting through out the day, It would also seem that he is not comfortable with me visiting his house for further photographs which could cause a problem.

Presentation research and notes

James was commissioned in 1972 by Beaford Arts’ founding director John Lane to “show north Devon people to themselves”. Ravilious captured agricultural life at a time of great transition and the photographs serve as a record of country traditions that had been handed down for generations. More than 70, 000 images make up the Beaford Archive, many were captured in and around the Halsdon nature reserve.

James Ravilious: An English Eye - Burton Art Gallery 28th May 2009

James lived in the community he photographed, and was trusted to photograph all aspects of local life. He worked by available light only and never posed his subjects, composing at speed with a Leica camera, auxiliary viewfinder and pre-war uncoated lenses. He was self-taught in photography, but was influenced both by his earlier studies at St Martin’s School of Art and by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Critical views

James Ravilious, An English Eye

(Peter Conrad)

“Ravilious studies his characters from ground level, shadowing them as they perform their daily chores. Because they are his neighbours, he knows their names and his captions, like the monuments in the graveyard, resurrect them as well as salvaging their outworn way of life.”

“Ravilious studies his characters from ground level, shadowing them as they perform their daily chores. Because they are his neighbours, he knows their names and his captions, like the monuments in the graveyard, resurrect them as well as salvaging their outworn way of life.”

James Ravilious, A world in Photographs

(Benjamin Secher, Alan Bennett)

"He takes pictures of things you wouldn’t immediately have thought worth taking. But when you look at them they seem just right somehow."

“I liked them straight away,” he says. “They were pictures of good, straightforward, ordinary people. Photographers are very often tourists in the communities that they photograph, but in this case he obviously knew the people to the extent that they no longer took any notice of him: they didn’t pose in the slightest, they seem to be utterly unselfconscious - and that’s a real tribute to the photographer.”

"People haven’t poshed themselves up for the photographs," says Bennett, recalling a passage from his original foreword to Ravilious’s collection: "They have not spruced themselves up for the lens or done a quick run round with the Hoover. Nobody tidies up; nobody clears the pots; nobody is on their best behaviour, Ravilious knowing instinctively that when people are on their best behaviour they are not always at their best."

Portrait test, Negotiating project

Three of the portraits I took today for the final project,  I also asked each of the people to write a statement about how they remember the valley to put in the book to give the project a greater feeling of nostalgia as a whole.

Eugene Smith

“Photo is a small voice, at best, but sometimes - just sometimes - one photograph or a group of them can lure our senses into awareness. much depends upon the viewer; in some, photographs can summon enough emotion to be a catalyst to thought”

A quote from Magnum Photos


An american photojournalist born in 1918 famous for his brutally graphic war photography.  Working for Life magazine, Smith was sent to the front lines of World War 2, photographing American marines, Japanese prisoners in the American’s offence against Japan.  In 1943 Smith was wounded while photographing in the Pacific theater of World War 2 and was pulled back to America.



Some of the imagery that Smith saw during his time stationed aboard the U.S aircraft carrier ‘Bunker Hill’ would cause any un-desensitised human being to sickness.  Photographs including a a half dead baby being held by a soldier, wounded soldiers bandaged and decapitated and decaying Japanese bodies.

Smith was later sent to Britain as part of Life’s editorial stance against Labour government. photographed miners in South Wales valleys, to which three shots became quite known as a document on life in the mining industry and were also published in Life magazine.  After leaving Life, Smith became a member of Magnum photos in 1955.  He taught at the New School for Social Research in New Year City where he won many awards, including the ASMP’s third annual Photojournalism Conference award in 1950 and named one of the ”World’s 10 Greatest Photographers” by  Life Magazine.

What I believe is one of Eugene Smith’s famous photographs to date, from the exhibition “Family of man” chosen by Edward Steichen in 1955. The photograph is of Smith’s two children walking through a forest, named “Walk in Paradise Garden”  An image that when viewed will not be forgotten so easily.


Phonar photography

Phonar photography is a free photography class open to undergraduate students to teach and create a better understanding of the themes and conventions of photography in the 21st century.  run by Jonathan Worth and Matt Johnston of Coventry University, the degree focuses on “development of a sustainable practice” and “Investigation of contemporary photographic practices and their implications for the medium as a whole”

From reading about the Phonar course, it would seem that with the course tries to discover the properties of the photography medium in 21st century, and how it relates to that of the old form of the medium.  With editing software and professional advice given the course allows students to enhance their knowledge of the form of photography as well as collaborate with other students and photography practitioners.

Many students attending the course have had their work featured in magazines and have been the host of exhibitions of their work which clearly demonstrates the possibilities created by this free advanced course of photography 

Negotiating project research #3 

When researching similar idea’s to the one I had proposed.  I came across a blog called “Dear Photograph”


Which people post old photographs (most of them being quite personal) held in front the place that they were originally taken.  I know there have been many projects that this method has been used; for example this movie themed project.


But I felt this project was different due to how personal it was, most images included a story of the meaning of the image that was being held up.  One of my favourites from the collection online was this one:


Dear Photograph,

This was taken in our back field on the day of my parents’ wedding in 1981. They were married by a Buddhist monk and their friends all brought food for the potluck feast afterwards. Even though the beautiful old oak on the left is no longer living (it wasn’t my zip line that killed it I swear) mum and dad are still as giddy as ever.”

I believe this kind of idea may be a possible, if I decided to keep the project very personal to myself or the possibility of using other’s photographs to document their memories of the valleys, I feel my original idea is a document of not only the people but the area itself which is what really led to me to follow it for the negotiating project 

Journey to university draft 2

While writing an essay on “The New Topographics” I couldn’t help fall in love even more with this style of shooting, the idea of no limitations and the possibilities to disregard the traditional norm of photography (in terms of composition, aesthetics and angles) and be free to capture a photograph that really explores the landscape as it has become. When researching possible shot idea’s to think about when going out to shoot.  I came across this photograph 


I found myself thinking about the methods that the European Avant-Garde photographers used in their photography, the oblique angles and the disorientated feeling the viewer gets because of such angles and what ways I could use this way of thinking with the idea of windows.

This idea can be seen in the first coversheet, I wanted to try capture photographs of buildings that had multiple windows which would be visible in a single frame.  The term ‘concrete jungle’ is forever a phrase I think about when discussing the movement of The New Topographics and I tried to replicate that idea in my images, picturing high buildings, staircases, claustrophobic styled environments. 

Journey to Uni draft 1

When thinking of idea’s for the journey to university assignment, I originally decided to take a topograph approach to the project.  But then when researching possible idea’s I came across a photograph of a narrow road in the country, where the main focus point of the image was this long, straight narrow road which I felt invited the viewer to think “what is at the end of the road”.  I was very interested in this quite conceptual idea for the assignment, as can be seen from the results above, I believe the images I have taken are quite repetitive which I was really unhappy with.  As much as I tried to play with the idea; be it with pavements, roads, alleyways, etc.  I felt the results would be similar.

Test shots

One thing I have noticed from my test shoot is that my current 17-77mm lens is too wide in comparison to the lens that would have been used to photograph the archive images.  I believe that the use of 18-55mm kit lens would be a better option when it comes to shooting this project as although it is not so wide it still allows me to frame the image if I wanted to zoom in or out.

One of the problems I have also found is that as imagined, trees have grown immensely since these photographs were taken in the early 1900’s so I have had to abandon some of the original photographs I had planned to re-create from the archive photographs I have due to the amount of trees that have grown in front of the subject I was planning on focusing on. I found that the hardest photograph out of the test shoots to re-create was probably the train station in Aberbeeg.  Since the station has been out of use for many years, most of the track has been destroyed or decayed away which meant that the original location that the photograph was taken from is no longer accessible but I feel the image is still one of the stronger archive photographs so I had to manage as close as possible to the original framing. 

Research for Negotiating project #2

The valleys archive


The valleys gave me a lot of inspiration to begin this project and led me to thinking how possibly the same project I’m about to undertake could be applied to the archive photographs from the valleys archive.  Although the initial idea is to shoot the photograph from the same angle, perspective as the original archive photograph, I wanted to see how the photographers of valleys archive approached shooting and if it may be a better option to shoot film over digital.