Assignment Five: People and Place on Assignment

For this assignment the choice is yours; the only proviso is that the subject should be one from the course – people and/or the places they inhabit.

First, decide a notional client.  Choose the kind of client (newspaper, magazine, text-book, publisher, advertising agency, television graphics, etc.), the purpose of the assignment (educational, informational, promotional) and how the images will be used (to illustrate a story, to sell a product etc.).  You choose.

You then need to imagine what the basic brief would be, which will mean thinking from the other side of the fence – what someone commissioning a photographer might want.  Write yourself the brief so that you can refer back to it.

Having assigned yourself the brief, you now need to complete it.  You need to submit between 8 – 12 photographs.  Accompany the final images with a short written assessment.

This should include:

  • the ‘client briefing’ that you gave yourself  
  • a statement of how you set about planning the photography
  • how well you succeeded, including the difficulties and opportunities you encountered that you had not anticipated

The Brief

We are an on-line magazine requiring photographic images with written/verbal information to support a story about the older person and modern technology.

We need to illustrate a story about which modern technology (mobile ‘phone, computer, satellite TV etc)  the older generation (55 years and older) have for their personal use, if any. You must include up to twelve images, but no less than eight, supporting the story.  Try to incorporate any obvious differences in the uptake of technology between the age groups.

The images will need to be ready for publishing within the next eight weeks.

Planning Statement

I decided to persuade friends at Gilbert Court, who definitely meet the age requirements, to once again participate.  For the photo shoot with the individuals, or couples, I chose to interview them and record their responses to questions I posed regarding how they remember technology in their youth and how it has changed.  I also asked questions about their personal use of modern technology, i.e. mobile ‘phones, computers, satellite television etc. and how they cope with it.  During the interview, when they’d relaxed and weren’t concentrating on me, I made images of them, which I’ve used in this assignment.  I then included edited sound tracks of the interviews to provide an holistic approach to the art, with the full interviews available for the publishers.

I perceive that photographic art doesn’t stop with the capture of any image, it should be part of a wider context of understanding the whole.  Sound, smell and touch are also facets of that whole, and whilst smell and touch cannot be incorporated, sound can.

Video is an obvious choice for the furtherance of this idea, but to me video actually removes something from the art I’m attempting to make.  The actual movement of the subject in a video is a distraction from looking at detail whilst the still image provides the opposite, provided there is sufficient interest within the picture to hold the attention of the viewer. Coupling the sound track has the potential to extend the viewers time in front the image, enable them to study the detail longer and form a different narrative than with just a picture alone.  No doubt video can provide different information to still images, but to look at that information in detail will require rewinding some sections several times.

My only reservation about this new path is that I’ve never done it before so I’m unsure of what the results will be.  I have to start somewhere with this method, so now is probably as good a time as any, and better than most, as I’m still in the early learning stage of my degree, so little harm will come if it’s not perfect, whereas there would be a great deal of harm done if I attempted this in my final module.

The associated images go by the overall title of ‘Adaptation’


15 Responses to Assignment Five: People and Place on Assignment

  1. Catherine says:

    It was fascinating listening Eddy and essential for me to see the person talking in tandem . Lots of memories raised for me as well. John is the man for me – age 92 and still interested in technology! I’ve no doubt that the video editing skills etc will come. You’ve definitely found your metier.

  2. bmhana says:

    I haven’t had the chance to listen to all of it yet, Eddy, but this seems like a really special assignment. It’s fascinating listening to them reminisce, and it really adds impact to the great images. I agree with Catherine about John.
    You’ve put so much work into this. Well done.

    • Eddy Lerp says:

      I’m really pleased and relieved that you think it’s good Barry, like I said to Catherine, it’s one of those experiments where you’re not sure whether the result will be acceptable or not.

  3. Dave Whenham says:

    I’m going to look at this later, after my tea, but glad to see I, a fellow student, neatly fall into the age-range for your project 🙂

  4. Dave Whenham says:

    Haha! Ironically I live just down the road from your hometown -although I’m a southerner I now live in Elland. Shame you went in the opposite direction geographically.

    • Eddy Lerp says:

      I worked at an engineering firm in Elland for a few months just before I joined the army ‘cos my dad worked there. Had to stay down here in the seventies when I got out of the army, there was no housing available at home and certainly no jobs for electronics engineers.

      • Dave Whenham says:

        It’s a fascinating project and I hope it gets the response from the assessor it deserves. I can also see this being developed and evolving into a really substantial boy of work if you get the chance at L2. Nice one!

      • Eddy Lerp says:

        I hope to develop this for a long time to come Dave, I’ve got a few ideas on directions to take.

  5. Eileen says:

    I think this is another excellent project Eddie – quite fascinating. I showed your first few sets from Gilbert Court to a friend. She liked them very much. She said that she found every picture full of interest and wanted to know more about the people and the place. This sums up how I feel about them very nicely also. I think you’re right in terms of future Work and doing one or two projects in depth. Getting under the skin of your subject is I think something you do really well. Keep up the good work!

    • Eddy Lerp says:

      Thanks for bringing to someone else’s attention Eileen that’s really good of you, and for her to like it as well is even better. Glad you’re enjoying the journey as well, it’s got quite a way to go yet.

  6. clk55pete says:

    Gosh, where to start. This is a really interesting piece of work. I first saw the series of images without any context on Flickr and thought they worked there. Then coming to this site the dynamic changed with the audio anchoring the photographs in a specific (use of technology) based context.

    I bet this was an interesting exercise to do.

    It also made me think about kit, ageing and impairment and how a similar project focussed on the things people identified as not being able to live independently without would be interesting.

    So a fascinating set on lots of levels.

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