When coming down to the crunch of preparing my final images, I found it quite hard to decide between the two themes I had explored, so tried to make a connection between the two.
Theoretically, I thought that the two ideas show the contrast of the city – the natural beauty of the water and the man-made beauty of the street art, combining together to create what we know as the character of the city of Plymouth.
Instead of printing several images I wanted to narrow it down to only 2 or 3 based solely on my budget. Visually, I made connections between my chosen images based on similar colours within the images to make strong partnerships between two very different elements of the city. This way I could combine the images together to make one image. These are my experiments.
From this I was able to see which pairings worked well and which didn’t, helping me to see the colours clearly and present the partnerships between the two. This was a massive learning step for me – I had never thought about pairing images this way and I felt that the process really worked and has taught me something to consider in future projects. This helped me get down to just three final images, which are shown here.
I want to express that this was just as much a learning curve for me as for anyone else who may not know Plymouth so well, helping me to see different ways that the city has evolved into what we see today.
The next idea I looked at was the theme of the urbanisation of Plymouth, looking at mainly street art along with a few other ideas. As an art student, I felt this was a really key theme especially when talking to other art students in India, showing the idea of how art can be explored in many ways. When exploring Plymouth, I found that street art is very commonly used within the city as a form of expression, which I wanted to show in my own expressive medium of photography.
By photographing these areas I wanted to promote the idea of expression, and that although classed as illegal graffiti, it allows people to show off their talents and ideas. What means very little to one person would mean so much more to someone else, and I believe everyone has the rights to express that.
From the contact sheets I again chose 5 of my favourite images, which I would consider for potential final pieces. I felt that these chosen 5 demonstrate the diverse amount of street art in so many different areas; regardless of how small it might be, it’s still effective. It also shows that some of the areas are hidden like in the underground, which I feel is unfair – people shouldn’t have to hide their expressions.
One of my final images wasn’t based on street art but I felt showed the urban lifestyle of the city well. With the faded colours, rusting and the prominent satellite on the wall, I felt it showed the very urban lifestyle that is slowly becoming evident within the city.
I think the colours of the images are really vibrant and eye catching enabling people to notice. These things are ignored too easily and I feel they are really relevant at creating a certain character for the city. I wanted to try and capture different textures to contrast the colours in the images also, which I feel I captured well.
After the last shoot I tried to study the city as a whole, what makes the city a unit? Being fairly new to Plymouth myself this seemed a daunting question, but I quickly found that, for me, there are two major themes consistently rolling through the city – water and the urban modernisation of the city itself. This then became the foundations of my photographs.
My photos look at two areas of Plymouth specifically following the two themes – the boating lifestyle of Plymouth and the street art dotted around the city. I feel that together, these two aspects of Plymouth really build the character and atmosphere of the city.
Thinking about the boating and water theme, I was inspired by the large navy enforcement within the city and how this is a huge pride and honour for Plymouth. I didn’t want my images however to be navy based photos. I wanted to go deeper than that.
When approaching my first shoot focusing on the boating and water theme of the city, I didn’t want to be too cliché and show the typical landscape photos of boats and the sea. I wanted to get up close and capture the character of the sea and the journeys individuals take to cross it. I wanted to investigate what goes on among the shore before heading out to sea, looking at the boats themselves and the docks where they leave. These are my contact sheets for that shoot.
From the contact sheets I chose 5 of my favourite images, which I would consider for potential final pieces. I felt that these chosen 5 show my idea well, demonstrating more than just a cliché image of the barbican, but the actual demonstration of the equipment of a boating lifestyle. I used the water as an object of reflection – reflecting the memories and realities of the boats, which I felt was much more effective than using water in a landscape.
I think the colours and the textures bring real depth and life to the images, which in itself helps the image to become more engaging and memorable. I believe it helps to show the reality of what I was trying to capture.
When first approached with the theme of ‘The City’, I felt very lost and at a loose end with the possibilities of what I could show the city of Plymouth as through photographs. When studying the city in great depth I thought, what would I want to show someone who doesn’t know Plymouth about Plymouth?
I thought at first about showing travel. Travel is a major part of Plymouth, with many bus services, trains and a large amount of bike riding. As a heavy train traveller, I decided to study the use of trains. In a previous project from my first year I studied the train station itself so wanted to focus more on portraiture and the kinds of people who travel on trains and what they do to pass the time whilst travelling. This was also a new step in confidence for me as I am not highly experienced with working with strangers so felt this would be a major step forward.
This was my first set of images. I was quite nervous about the shoot so it wasn’t a large one. I feel the images are a starting point at showing my intended message but I felt that the pressure was too much and it made me feel a lot of undesired pressure to continue this as a project. As a project that is being used to almost ‘educate’ the university in India about the lifestyles of Plymouth, I wanted to do a project that I felt more confident about, both when taking part and about the imagery at the end.
From here I intend to try and make a more confident project, maybe sticking to my comforts of still life or using models, which I feel comfortable with. This however has been a learning curve and has urged me to consider using models that I don’t know when perusing projects of a longer time period in the future.