Exercise 3.4 Documenting change

21st December 2019

Make a sequence of photographs that shows the same subject, but in different states i.e. changing. You can choose any subject you like, but clearly identify it and note down the conditions of change you want to show.

Produce at least three images in the sequence – that shows the different states of the subject and communicates the change you’ve identified.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

OCA Foundations in Photography Course Folder pg104

I have already began to note down some ideas that show change but I want to think outside the box a little more, rather than showing a natural state of changing like the weather, the sun, tides and cooking food etc… The reason for this is solely because I come from a fine art background and these are shot all the time. The rotting flesh of an animal or piece of food, especially fruit and the changing landscape are the most popular images in documenting change that appear in peoples portfolios of work, within books and on the internet.

With the Christmas Day swim in Lowestoft coming up I wanted to try to document that and produce a narrative that has changes within it, yet it still has only one common aspect which ties the images together. I came up with the idea of shooting from one spot only and documenting the change of that one small environment which would be in front of me.

26th December 2019

The Christmas Day swim, Lowestoft

I have never been to the Christmas swim before so I did not know what to expect. I thought it was a few groups of like minded people who gather on the shoreline and take a dip with a small audience of friends and family etc… WOW, how I was wrong!

I didn’t realise it was a full blown organised event that raised money for charity. If I had I would have probably prepared more as I found I had chosen the wrong lens for this type of large event.

The lens I had taken with me was the Lumix 45-200mm which is equivalent to a 90-400mm 35mm camera lens. The reason I had taken one of my telephoto lenses is because I thought I would take shots from afar of the whole event as people would be flocking around the main swim and I could therefore document the increase of people viewing the event and the swim itself. However because of how it was organised I had to change direction and wish I had a smaller lens with me.

I therefore had to quickly revaluate how I was going to shoot my series and from where.

It actually wasn’t that hard to decide, with a telephoto lens I knew I would need to be on the far end of the beach to get in as much detail as possible for the end shots.

I had decided to shoot the beach filling up from a near empty crowd to a full crowd, then a few runners to a full image of runners and then to end it with one shot of some participants walking back along the same stretch of beach.

The concept is to show this specific area of beach changing within the Christmas Day swim event. My final documentation of change is below and is titled: ‘In one Position, In One Hour.’

The Shoot

The photographs for the work, ‘In One Position, In One Hour,’ document in a specific way so that they had firm links. They are all taken from the same standing position and aimed up the beach towards where the runners enter. The first two images show the change in people waiting, the numbers increase, and in the third image we have the full crowd waiting on that side. The third image however not only links with the first two shots but the following images because it has the first people in the run within it at the top right corner. This image then links the following three images because they show participants running towards the sea in their costumes and within each of these images the participants increase in size until shot 6 has a full frame of runners within it.

I had shot over 311 images and down sizing them to seven was difficult (contact sheets can be found here). How would I end the documented change? I could have shown what was happening behind me but the dynamics of the photographs and the concept would change. I therefore decided to abruptly end the sequence by showing the backs of people running up the beach from where they had come from. This means that the concept of the same piece of beach had been kept running throughout the shoot. I could have continued the theme by showing a full shot of backs and then a few and even show the huge amount of people that entered the space in the end to crowd around, but I thought against this and went with a dynamic and abrupt ending.

Once the images were selected I was not sure how to present them. I prefer the above layout because the abrupt image that ends the series is large and having three images side by side you can see the build up in changes as well.

I also put the sequence in a column which can be seen below. This is how it has been produced in many peoples blogs and within the OCA course folder. Although this shows the changes well and we view one specific image at the time which means we can take in more of the details, it is harder to compare the changes from photograph to photograph.

The completed work is OK, apart from some blown out white windows in the buildings in the background, but I really wished I had researched what would happen on the day rather than rely on my imagination. When you close yourself away from the world you are so far from the reality of things. By being in touch with reality and researching I would have been better prepared for the shoot.

However, at least I was able to get through the front door and attend this time, little steps.

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