Learning Objectives: My learning objectives have changed slightly since I made a learning contract. With the addition of using Hasselblad, I want to learn how to scan properly and also how to get the best results out of the Hasselblad. As well as these objectives my previously stated goals were to figure out a clear mode of presentation that best suited my project and to use my blog to show work put into the project that is usually lost in previous projects.
Title of Project: Farm Decay (Working Title)
Statement of Intent: This project is an exploration of the changing agricultural landscape due to social or economical affairs. Also what affects this has taken on the land and on the buildings around it.
Relevant genre(s) and keywords, identification of subject matter, any revelant details regarding location(s): The relevant genres to my project are landscape and documentary. It took me a while to identity the subject matter but I feel that I now have a solid foundation of an idea that I can explore and develop with a clearer idea of what the final project will be. The scope of the project will include abandoned farm lands and/or farm houses in the parishes of Abbeyknockmoy, Atherny, Monivea, Belclare, Tuam and Lackagh. Map here.
Projected outcomes in terms of amount of images in series plus ultimate presentation format:
My projected outcomes in terms of prints would be ideally 6-8. I wish to create a series with similar colour palettes and similar a style of presentation, ideally framed.
However I will not discount the possibility of making a book depending on the success of future shoots. This project would benefit strongly from large framed prints. I don’t think a book would give the same effect.
Relevant Visual Influences:
When I first thought about doing something around the farm and rural life. One of the artists I remember from last year was Jackie Nickerson and in particular her work ‘Ten Miles Round’, in the beginning I wasn’t interested in doing something along these lines but funnily enough I find myself going back to my original research start point. For the most part I really enjoyed Nickerson’s project, I felt that there was room for expansion in some areas and I disagree with her use of studio shots of models. I feel there is a complete disconnection when models are placed in the studio mixed with this sort of work. I choose Nickerson as one of my influences because I feel that farm or rural photography is often disregarded and unfairly put down. Jackie Nickerson was one of the first established artists that I came across that made rural photography a valid genre.
I saw Rhondal McKinney at the Bank of America collection show at the Irish Modern Museum of Art. I was immediately drawn to his work because of his use of vast panoramic. I really enjoyed his work, ‘Farm Family Panorama‘ I like how he was able to divide up the scene into 3 pieces but each photo can stand on it’s own. I have thought about experimenting with a similar presentation with my project but it needs a very particular sort of shot to work and I feel if I was to implement into my project it would feel ‘gimmicky’ and forced. I don’t know why but I’m really drawn to the scenery of the America mid west, there is something about this rural backbone of the country in between the two poles that are the West and East coast of America. I’m intrigued by life there and I find the images very compelling and interesting to look at. If his work has influenced me directly I don’t know, but it has differently affected how I see farm/rural photography.
Another artist who influenced this work is Fred Reilly , who was a recent graduate from my course. He deals with the fallout from BSE on Irish farms. I like the idea of ‘death’ portrayed in his images. The life of the farm is of course the animals, if you take those away, what does the farm become? This is really what I was interested in challenging. The sense of the farm as a isolated space outside the context of a place where animals are kept. Fred Reilly’s images are often thought provoking and deals very well with the aftermath of a farm without animals. I wanted to capture some of this sense of foreboding in my photographs.
Result of own test shoots:
While I think I stumbled with finding a direction, I feel like I’ve now got a clearer direction with enough time to explore the avenues of the project too. I started off taking random shots around my farm, from that, I gathered that I wanted to do something more landscape based. It was from there that my idea formulated. I feel that this project originally started off too big and broad.
All blog previous posts related to test shoots can be found here. These are some of images from my shoot last weekend. These are mostly taken from my Mother’s farm and from a farm around where I live. My mother sold her family farm at the height of the boom after my parents spent 30 years farming on that land. The developer who bought the land though, could not get planning permission so the farm is now in a state of despair, with land heavily dug up and sheds falling apart. I plan to explore different farms in the area as well as revisit my mother’s old farm next weekend.