AD7803 Photography 2: Interrogating Practice – Proposal

Proposal

Within the AD7803 Module, I am wanting to pursue and advance my interest in Landscape photography, with a particular emphasis on human scarred or man adjusted spaces. Additionally, there are two themes areas I am also wanting to investigate.

Firstly, I feel the need to slow down my methods and to take a more considered approach to image making. That is not to say I felt that the way I was creating photography previously was rushed or chaotic, just simply that I wanted to slow down my thought processes while also ensuring that shooting images more slowly does not impact on the quality of the photography being produced.

I have also become increasingly excited by a rapidly developing interest in the aesthetics of alternative processes and the renaissance of analogue photography. I started my own photographic career just as analogue photography became replaced by digital photography. I am lucky to have experienced both, but digital has certainly been the prominent technology used day to day. Whilst I have always used analogue photography in some capacity or another, a return to film-based technology feels like a daunting prospect. As a teacher I see young photography students who have known nothing but smart phones and digital cameras. These students getting excited by darkrooms and film have spurred a resurgence and return to analogue imagery.

For the AD7803 module I am aiming to create a landscape documentary of Stokeleigh Camp, an ancient Iron Age settlement near Bristol. I will be shooting with a large format camera to satisfy the aim to slow down my workflow and focus on high quality imagery. In addition, I will be shooting paper negatives with the camera instead of photographic film. The idea behind this is that the paper has a very slow useable ISO which will result in long shutter speeds. I am hoping the images produced will display a visual divide on the landscape, separating the ancient hill fort from the more recent additions on the landscape such as trees and foliage. The idea is that the trees and foliage will display signs of movement while the earth works fort will remain still and sharp. The concept here is that the movement of the trees and foliage will represent the transience of nature, while the stationary elements of the landscape will show the man-made impact on the spaces concerned.

I feel the final outcome will be a series of large scale exhibition prints of the images shot at Stokeleigh Camp.


The brief history of Stokeleigh Camp

Stokeleigh Camp is an Iron Age promontory fort on the edge of Leigh Woods on the outskirts of Bristol. It is designated as a scheduled ancient monument and dates back to the late pre-Roman Iron Age. The fort was inhabited from the late 3rd century BC and there is evidence of human habitation for approximately 400 years. It is thought that the camp was built and inhabited by the Dobunni tribe of Ancient Britain, and that the camp could have been re-inhabited later on until the mid to late second century.

The camp is approximately 7.5 acres in size and it is situated in a raised natural position that is easily defended. It is plain to see why this space was selected to build a safe haven. To the north and east, the sharp ravine of the Avon Gorge provides a sheer cliff edge, while to the south features the further steep incline of the Nightingale Vale provides an easily defended location. Only the western edge of the area is open to attack, and this is the area that has seen ancient humans manipulate the landscape to fortify it.

The location of Stokeleigh Camp. Note the visible ramparts in the aerial photograph. 

The western edge of Stokeleigh Camp features a series of earth works ramparts and ditches which have been excavated out of the ground. There is a series of three ramparts built, all increasing in size as they get closer to the central plateau of the camp. The largest, inner rampart is over 30 feet high and there is evidence of dry stone walling on top of this mount which would also likely have featured a further wooden palisade.  The ramparts remain in surprisingly intact condition and the area is accessible to the public being part of National Trust Land.

Gallery of digital images shot at Stokeleigh Camp


 

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