For my personal project I originally decided to try and photograph a large selection of old cotton mills and other works alongside these from the industrial revolution. The reason for doing this was to try and create a modern record of what can still be seen and what has dissappeared since then.
After dissussion with my tutors it was decided to concentrate on one location and photograph this extensively taking inspiration from other photographers such as Pete Davis and his book Wild Wood. I have looked at other photographers before hand such as Man Ray, Michael Kenna and Eddie Euphrams, but Pete Davis’s work is that which has inspired my work the most on this project. The way it has inspired me and the way I have tried to utilise this is the way Pete uses light in his photography yet without including any part of the sky, focussing on the growth of trees and plants in his book. I have tried to mix this in with Kenna’s work that I have seen on his website http://www.michaelkenna.net/gallery.php?id=35 by photographing in black & white. This is also the way that I prefer to do my photography, using light and shade to create the image and use the tonal range of white through grey and into black which takes away for me the distraction of colour and focusses on the scene or object that is being photographed. I also have taken influence from the great Fay Godwin, who as well as a photographer, was an environmental activist, I am hoping this also shows in the choice of photographs I have made.
The place I have chosen to concentrate my photography on is Springwater Mill, Whitefield, Manchester. This area has now been turned into a parkland but parts of the old mill and its working environment can still be seen, though this is becoming more and more invisible as nature is taking over again. The mill that used to be situated at this location originally started out as a calico printing works, block printing designs onto cotton already spun and woven into sheets at other locations in nearby Radcliffe before changing into a bleach works where the cotton would be put into large vats and bleached white before being sold on to tradesmen or direct to stores.
This gave me the idea of concentrating on the nature to give a possible title of Reclaimation of the Revolution – Natures recovery from Man. Hopefully the photographs I have chosen represent this.
All the photographs have been taken on my digital SLR as I found this a lot easier and flexible to use, however I have done test shots on location with both 35mm film and medium format film, but due to weather conditions, these did not turn out as well as with the digital and the ease of being able to manipulate the Raw files rather than more time spent in the darkroom .
36 images to be sorted and decreased down to ten. For help with this I have asked my two immediate tutors in the photography department to choose thier best ten, along with former student now working towards PGCE Matthew Savage, acting Dean John Harrison, who is a photographer himself along with Jenna Gardner, from elesewhere in the arts department. The reasoning for asking so many people is to get as many opinions as possible on which are the best quality of the photographs and intentionally asked people away from photography on thier views to give an outsiders viewpoint on which they would choose. Jenna was extremely helpful in this by choosing photographs that fit together well in an aesthetic manner rather than a photographers choice of technical ability and quality of image alone.