The first thing that struck me about Jay Maisels photographic collection Jaywalking In NYC, is the use of colour. A high proportion of the photographs use bright colours, which evokes the feeling that you are in a vibrant, densely populated city that never sleeps.
Looking at his photographs it appears that some are taken from a slight distance allowing him to capture peoples natural behaviours. By doing this it gives the viewer a feeling of being present at that moment when the photograph was taken.
On Jay Maisels website I noticed that he made a point of saying that he was asked what he is looking for when he goes out on a shoot. In response to this he states
‘My answer is, “absolutely nothing”. I’m not looking for anything. I’m just desperately trying to stay open to whatever is in front of me.’ Masiel J (s.d.)
Tom Hunter is a photographer who has explored the East End of London and in particularly Hackney Marshes, which is the far side of an area I am thinking of exploring, due to its open space that creates a form of calm and tranquility. However, you are frequently reminded that you are still in London when a train thunders through every few minutes.
Life and Death in Hackney (1997) Fig. 6.
The way Home (1997) Fig. 7.
The photographs above were taken in the late 90’s to reflect the rave scene in urban areas. The lighting shows that they would have been taken around dawn, when the raves would be coming to an end and the people dispersing. I feel like the use of the light in Life and Death in Hackney creates the emotion of feeling tired and not quite ready for the dawn of the next day and that the Marshes is an area where you could collapse and recover.
Tom Hunter provides a description of the landscape alongside his photographic series, in which he states
‘This maligned and somewhat abandoned area became the epicentre of the new warehouse rave scene of the early 90’s. During this time the old print factories, warehouses and workshops became the playground of a disenchanted generation, taking the DIY culture from the free festival scene and adapting it to the urban wastelands. This Venice of the East End, with its canals, rivers and waterways, made a labyrinth of pleasure gardens and pavilions in which thousands of explorers travelled through a heady mixture of music and drug induced trances.’ (Hunter T, s.d.)
We are now just over 20 years on from when the photographs were taken. The landscape has not changed much, although the rave scene has now long gone. It is now a protected nature park with set out paths, full of cyclists, dog walkers and runners, with rowers travelling up and down the River Leigh. There are still two train lines that run through the Marshes. The tranquility of the landscape is frequently broken up as trains go thundering past serving as a constant reminder that you are still in London.
My idea for a photograph of the Marshes is to capture the wildlife with a train running past in the background together with a view of all the construction on the horizon reflecting the regeneration in the area. The other was to try and capture the rowers on the river Lea with the canal boats and if the timing is right a train running over the rail bridge.
This is a series of photographs to keep in mind when visiting the Marshes and looking at composition.
Gawain Barnards description of his photographic series titles Tomorrow 6 states
‘… My pictures represent a time of day that offer a glimpse of clarity and a brief moment of solitude in semi darkness. Like a morning prayer, observations become meditative against a stirring backdrop of familiar noises as the morning ritual moves from thought process to slow movements. ‘ (Barnard G, s.d.)
Tomorrow 6 (s.d.) Fig. 1.
I was intrigued by the use of alternating light and dark exposures in the series. I found the darker photographs to be quite provocative and started to wonder what the subjects were thinking about. The subjects posture and facial expression bring a reflective contemplative state avoiding the darker exposure turning the photograph into something more sinister. The vignette on the lighter images help to frame the subject whilst creating a subtle transition into the darker images. I also felt that the use of muted tones throughout the set, beautifully reflected the meditative state the photographer was looking to achieve.
My mind started to wonder to see whether the concept of light vs dark could be used within the context of Assignment 1 Mile Square. The area I have chosen to photograph is a place called Walthamstow which is part of the East End of London. Walthamstow has gone through major regeneration and gentrification in the last decade. This has lead to more affluent people moving into the area creating a deeper social divide. If I decide to go down the route reflecting the social divide in the area, I wonder if this could be utilized to reflect the new more affluent residents vs the original residents.
‘As we head to Brexit I walked the streets of the Square Mile to observe how the people live and work within its boundary’ (Nicholson J, s.d.)
Coffee Shop, Leica M246 Fig. 2.
Rush hour, Leica M246 Fig. 3.
I was working in the City of London within the financial sector when it was announced that we were leaving the EU. After reviewing the photographic series by Jon Nicholson titled ‘The Square Mile’ for me Jon Nicholson not only captured how people live and work in the area, but he also managed to encapsulate the mood that was circulating in the City of London at the time.
I felt that the use of Black and White images together with the photo journalistic style helped to capture the mundane daily grind of working within the City of London, coupled with the concern people immediately felt upon the result of the Referendum. Being a large financial hub in Europe, people started to question what this meant for them and whether their jobs were safe.
I particularly like the photograph titled ‘Coffee Shop, Leica M246 ‘. The three subjects looking out onto the road with the reflection of people rushing by. To me the two people on the left seem to be in deep thought, whilst the other on his mobile leaves you wondering what the conversation was about.
The photograph titled ‘Rush hour, Leica M246’ communicates well how busy the City of London can be during rush hour. I like the way that Jon Nicholson has achieved this without overcrowding the photograph with people and creating confusion. He’s managed to achieve this through the angle the photograph was taken; below eye level looking up. The area I wish to photograph in my assignment has a large transport hub within it, which is always busy. The composition of this photograph has shown me that you do not need to capture a large crowd within the photograph to convey a busy intersection/time of day.
I noted upon reviewing Jon Nicholson’s work that he does not use the same orientation or aspect ratio for all his images. However, through arranging the photographs vertically and keeping the same width for each photograph, this seems to avoid the eye from darting around allowing the viewer to take more time on each image.