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The Commission

Environment
Task one: Landscape For this task I wanted to investigate how human interferes with the nature, and how a man-made world clashes with the natural environment. Also I wanted to show this transition from natural landscape to a human made world, by photographing icons of human world in the face of a vast landscape. Task two: Cityscape In my cityscape images I want to show an archaeological trace of lost/forgotten civilisations or deserted/abandoned cities. By photographing holes in the ground I want to indicate the "mysterious existence" of these places, as they still exist in the history.

Landscape
Natural environment plays important role in our social and economic lives. Great resource for food and energy supplies, source for recreation, natural resource for industrial products. Intensive exploitation of the natural resources has a significant effect on the natural landscape.

Landscape
Population growth leads to Industrialisation which affect the environment and causes different types of pollution (Air, land and water pollution) through: Burning fossil fuels; Use of non-renewable resources; (Which increases CO2 levels) Deforestation (loss of natural habitats, cut down trees to build new homes, loss of biodiversity and oxygen producers) Human made disasters (Oil spills) All these factors have significant impact on the environment and lead to ozone depletion and global warming.

Landscape
To support my idea I researched particular photographers, whose work covers industrial factors affecting natural environment.

Landscape
Nadav Kander
Nadav Kandar has documented the rapidly changing landscape and communities in China. This image shows how human environment grows on top of the nature. The scene is divided in two parts and shows this transition from natural world to man made environment.

Landscape
Robert Adams
A landscape scarred by de-forestation, industrial development and human habitation. Central image shows transition from natural landscape to human environment.

Landscape
John Davies
Change of British landscape from a natural world into something heavily industrial. These two images show how industrial environment takes over the natural landscape

Landscape
Visual Strategy
An-My Le
An - My Le is one of the photographers whose work appeared in the book "Vanishing Landscapes". She photographs Military against the backdrop of an ocean, which makes it appear fragile and barely tolerated. Military-Conflict. Conflict between human and nature.

I like the sense of scale in the left image and how it is emphasized by the presence of two Marines. It shows the greatness of the nature/the ocean. It reminds me of William Henry Jackson's image of the Grand canyon of the Colorado, where he uses the notion of scale by capturing human presence amongst the greatness of the landscape. Also in the image on right the sense of scale is even greater, as we refer to the tank, two hovercrafts and a little vessel in the background. Tyre tracks on sand emphasize the fact how human interferes with the nature.

William Henry Jackson

The idea of a man in the face of a vast landscape. Grand canyon of the Colorado 1883

Andreas Gursky

Rhein II, a photograph of the Rhine River I use this photograph as a visual strategy for my final images. I like the way the image is divided in two parts the sky and the land. It is almost immaculate and free of any distractions.

Landscape
shoot 1

I wanted to divide the scene in two parts ( the land and the sky ) just like in Andreas Gurskys image, to show the balance and harmony in the nature, but at the same time, by placing these two little objects on the right(chimneys of the power station) I wanted to show how this harmony is being disrupted by human.

Landscape
shoot 2

In this photograph I wanted to create this feel of looking from a hiding place, through this sort of tunnel made in the of stubble, leading towards the power station. It is to show the great scale and importance of the natural landscape in peoples social and economic lives, but also to emphasize how the problem of polluting the environment is being underestimated by our society. Also the chimneys of the power station look very similar to the remains after the harvest, which creates a relationship between humans life and natural world.

Landscape
shoot 3

We can see how these two power pylons are rising up above these little twigs, and almost dominating them. Also these little plants create a barrier preventing the viewer from going beyond them, as if there was a danger behind them or a different world - human made world, and the nature wants to stop us from going there, and altering the nature or changing it into an industrial environment. It shows this transition from natural landscape to a human made world, it seems like these little plants will soon develop and turn into these massive steel constructions and become a source of electricity flowing through these power lines. This emphasizes the fact how human exploits natural resources and changes environment.

Landscape
Final images

In these images I introduced icons of man-made environment in the face of the great natural landscape. As my visual strategy I kept in mind images of Andreas Gurskys and An My Les work, as well as Robert Adams and John Davies as a support for my concept. I tried to emphasize the great scale of natural landscape and compare it against almost insignificant in scale human environment. These icons are irritating and distracting to the viewers eye, just as destructive are human activities to the environment. As a principle, in my final prints, I kept the horizon line at the same height (11 cm from the bottom of the image)

Cityscape
Initial idea - "anti iconic" landmarks of the city of London. After research and test shoots for my landscape task, I found this area in Strood, just at the river bank, where in Victorian times around 1886-1905, this area used to be a dump site. In fact people used to find old and sometimes very valuable artefacts (old plates, bottles, and coffee cups etc.) from Victorian times. When I was there I saw a man digging holes and searching for remains of Victorian London.

Cityscape
Idea of archaeological representation of the city "treasure regarded as remains, and actual trace old civilisation.

These two images are the proofs of what can be found. There is a date on this piece of crockery, which tells us it was made in 1862. And this is an old bottle, which came from London over hundred years ago. It is unbelievable how it managed to retain its good condition.

Cityscape
These images remind me of archaeological sites, and some activities carried out by archaeologists.

Idea of another world just beneath the surface


Mysterious holes revealing remains of the city.

Cityscape
Underworld - Story of the lost City of Atlantis After Atlanteans led a failed attack on Athens, a natural disaster sank the island in a day and a night, and the spot became a mud shoal, making it impassable and unsearchable. This gave me an idea for further research about the hidden/lost cities.

Cityscape
I was interested in this theme of "the Lost City", therefore I decided to do some research, and see if there are any other stories about mysterious cities. I found some information about the Machu Picchu - the lost city of Inca, which was discovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. Since the invasion of Spaniard, this place remained hidden for centuries. Nobody knew about it. It is still a mystery why it was abandoned.

Machu Picchu is South Americas best known and most spectacular archaeological site, hidden high in the mountains (peaks of Andes) to escape the destruction by the Spanish conquistadors, who never found it. This stone city remained hidden from the outside world for 400 years. Today the city came back to life and it is listed as new one of the seven wonders of the word. It still remains it's aura of mystery and magic.

Cityscape

Hiram Bingham's expedition photographed Machu Picchu soon after his arrival 1911 . Machu Picchu is regarded as a lost city, as no one knows the reason why it was built and deserted. The empire of Incas ruled of only 100 years, and then it was decimated by disease, civil war and Spanish conquistadors.

Cityscape
After my research about Machu Picchu I looked up if there are any other places around the world which were forgotten or "lost". I found out that there is a great number of abandoned settlements around the world. Ranging from remote ghost towns to vast deserted cities. Some of the places became deserted because of human-caused disaster, while others have fallen into decay due to economic decline, civil war, and natural factors such as: earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Some abandoned towns and ghost cities are so isolated that they have become like time capsules, almost untouched since their last occupants departed generations ago.

In Europe the main reason of cities becoming abandoned was war and conflict, such as Spanish Civil War or the World War II. Some of these cities are more famous now, when they are deserted, rather than when they were inhabited.

Cityscape
There are examples of few "ghost" towns/villages in Europe. Auli

Auli in Switzerland isnt actually abandoned. It is rather a ghost city, as it has never been inhabited. It was built by Swiss government as a military training town.

Cityscape
Wilmarsdonk

Wilmarsdonk was a village in Belgium, north of Antwerp, which has disappeared under the port of Antwerp expansion. First recorded in 1155 and merged into Antwerp in 1927, Wilmarsdonk was abandoned and ultimately demolished to make way for the expanding Port of Antwerp, one of Europes largest seaports and second only to Rotterdam in terms of freight shipped. Wilmarsdonk was levelled in 1965 and only the church tower survived, rising silently above the port.

Cityscape
Imber

Another ghost town on the list is a town in Wiltshire in South West England, called Imber. In 1945 residents of this town have been evicted, and since then this place has been used for military training. People who used to live there have been given 47 days to leave the town and they never came back there. Here is a short video about Imber.

Cityscape
Oradour-sur-Glane

Oradour-sur-Glane in France is another abandoned place.It is a reminder of a Nazi cruelty, which took place on June 10, 1944.The entire village has been martyred by a German Waffen-SS, which massacred 642 residents, including women and children. The slaughter was a revenge attack against the French Resistance.

Cityscape
Pyramiden

Another ghost town I found is a town in Norway, called of Pyramiden (meaning the pyramid) It was a coal mining community founded by Sweden in 1910 and sold to the Soviet Union in 1927. This settlement had a population of over 1,000 people, but was abandoned when its state-owned Russian controller, Arctikugol Trust, pulled out in 1998.

Cityscape
Belchite

Belchite is a monument of Spanish Civil War, which tore through the country between 1936 and 1939. It has been left "as is" as a set of ruins after the war between Nationalists and Republican forces in 1937. The civil war conflict was not the only battle to be fought in Belchite as it also provided the scene of a battle between French and Spanish forces in the Independence war of 1809. Today the ruins of the old village are open to the public. The original remains as a war memorial, and was even used in the filming of Pans Labyrinth.

Cityscape
After my research about deserted towns in Europe, where I found some information about the village of Imber, I was wondering if there are any more abandoned places within the UK. I did a research and found places across Britain, some of which had become uninhabitable because of natural factors, such as costal erosion or flooding, while others are deserted for economy, military or industrial related reasons. Ten of them are marked on the map

Cityscape
Binnend

Many communities in Britain which prospered during the Industrial Revolution have become deserted in the last century. This picture shows the village of Binnend in Fife, which was founded in the early 1880s to provide accommodation for workers at a nearby mine. The mine closed in 1894, and the last resident-George Hood left in 1954.

Cityscape
Mardale

Dun Bull Hotel 1893, Mardale Mardale was submerged in 1935, when water level of the valley's lake, Haweswater, was raised to form Haweswater Reservoir by the Manchester Corporation. The walls of the abandoned village occasionally reappear in long periods of dry weather.

These beautiful landscapes are traces of history. Most of the village's buildings were blown up by the Royal Engineers, who used them for demolition practice We can see the remains of old constructions which are embedded in the ground.

Cityscape
Derwent Village The two villages of Derwent and Ashopton in Derbyshire were flooded by the creation of the Ladybower Reservoir in the 1940s, but a few houses and a small population survived.

These two images are documentation of the valley and the effects that the flooding has caused.

This photograph is taken from a BBC film about Ladybower reservoir made in the 1960's. The reservoir was formed in 1943 by flooding the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire, including the two villages of Derwent and Ashopton. The church spire of Derwent could be seen when the water level was low.

Cityscape
Dylife

Dylife had been a place for lead mining ever since Roman times and at its height between 1850-70 it was considered one of the largest of its type in Europe. The last mines closed in 1901 and two chapels remain today. It was demolished in 1962.

These images show Dylife adits. They look like a mysterious "entrances" to the "underworld". They also look like archaeological sites, where people dig for ancient artefacts, to find any trace of history. They are similar to my idea of photographing holes in the ground in Strood.

Cityscape
Stanford

Stanford was taken over by the British Army during World War II for training purposes and it remains an Army base today, known as the Stanford Battle Area.

Cityscape
Temperance Town

View of Temperance Town from the north Temperance Town was an area near the centre of Cardiff, built in the 1860s. When the river Taff was straightened, a large area of wet low-lying land was left; large quantities of rubbish were tipped on it and the streets of what became Temperance Town were laid out over an area of 5.7ha. In the years up to the 1930s, Cardiff's prosperity had been reduced by the decline in coal exports and conditions in Temperance Town had worsened, which resulted with poverty and over-crowding. Temperance Town was demolished in 1937.

Cityscape
Hallsands In the early 1890s Hallsands was a small fishing village on the south coast of Devon. It was protected from the sea by a beach of sand and shingle. Then in 1897 a major dredging operation began not far from the village. Within a few years the level of the beach fell by about twelve feet, and the village was exposed to the direct impact of high tides and easterly winds. Several buildings were damaged or destroyed in storms during 1903 and 1904. Some buildings were repaired, and temporary protection was given by a new sea wall, but another major storm in January 1917 caused further devastation, and the village was abandoned.

These are remains after the village

Cityscape
Hampton-on-Sea The community of Hampton-on-Sea was already in decline when some of the homes fell into the sea in the early 20th Century and others were demolished. Part of the original pier still remains today.

Hampton-on-Sea was a fishing hamlet in Herne Bay, Kent which was destroyed by coastal flooding in 1921.

Cityscape
Tyneham

Tyneham House circa 1915

The village of Tyneham on the Isle of Purbeck is one of the forgotten casualties of World War II. The War Office gave the village's 225 residents notice to leave their homes by December 19th 1943.

These are the ruins of n old village of Tyneham

Despite the fact that most of these places almost disappeared they still exist in form of remains/ruins which have been left as they are. Some of them became tourist attractions.

Cityscape
After researching these places which supported my idea of a lost city, I was wondering if there are any photographers, whose work would relate to my concept of photographing remains after former settlements. I searched for an archaeological photographers and found a couple of names, which were vital for my project.

Cityscape
Adam Stanford Adam Stanford is a specialist archaeological photographer, who covers all aspect of archaeological photography. He uses variety of techniques for detailed, high quality imagery, of small finds, stratigraphy, excavation areas, landscapes, historic buildings and ancient monuments. He uses a remote controlled camera system on a 22m telescopic mast. This low-level aerial photography provides professional detailed aerial images for recording excavations, historic buildings and ancient monuments. Archaeological photography is a vital part of the recording process, especially when preservation by record is the only option. It is also an invaluable medium for communicating information about the evidence of past human activity to a wide audience. I find his images, and the technique he uses, very interesting.

Cityscape

This photograph of the archaeological site was taken from a certain height, using wide angle lens. This visual strategy gives characteristic perspective and allows to capture the vast area where archaeological activities take place.

Cityscape

I like this image because of the camera angle and position. It is looking straight down over viewing the whole area, documenting the process of discovery of ancient artefacts. This image looks very abstract because of the use of very wide angle lens. When looking at it for the first time it can take long time to study the image in order to know what we are actually looking at.

Cityscape

I adore this image because of the lighting he used. He uses this technique of "painting with light" which works best in the dark. I like the contrast between bright and dark areas. Also colours are very vibrant which makes this image stand out.

Cityscape

I like the way photographer edited this image, by removing colour from the background, which in this case was only distracting viewer's eye. Again, high camera position, and wide angle lens make this scene appear very small and abstract.

Cityscape
Another photographer I found is Zissi Parras. Zissi Parras is an archaeologist and photographer, who aims to accurately and faithfully document the ancient record for his research and for publication. The majority of photographs he takes are usually on sites. Using photography he records and represents details of a site and its artefacts. His photographs are essential components of documenting the process of excavation and keeping the record of artefacts or features in context.

Cityscape

Low angle Use of 50 mm lens to keep natural perspective

Cityscape

Camera positioned very low 50mm lens for natural perspective

Cityscape

Cityscape

Ruins of old settlement trace of old civilisation

Cityscape

wide angle lens and camera position gives the sense of scale

Cityscape
Hiroshi Sugimoto Similar concept In one of his series called "Architecture" decided to trace beginning of human age via architecture. He has done it by pushing the focal length of his old, large-format camera out to twice-infinity. As a result, the image appearing on the ground glass was completely blurred. He discovered that the great architecture survives this process of blurred photography.

Cityscape

Because nothing is in focus we have limited area for analyses in these images. Properly exposed image; details remain in both shadows and highlights. Also all horizontal and vertical lines are straight and parallel.

Cityscape

Large format cameras allows to control perspective in the image. If this photograph was taken with a 35mm or medium format camera, the building would appear deformed, as the camera was positioned fairly low and looking up.

Cityscape
We can see that the bottom of the image is underexposed. Also vignette is visible, as well as a slight distortion caused by a wide angle lens. I find these photographs very conceptual, as the idea or message Sugimoto wants to communicate is more important than general aesthetics of photographs he took. He Traces beginning of human age by this extraordinary process. There is a sort of mystery in these images. Blurry images may confuse the viewer. I want to achieve similar effect by the use of scale and tight crop.

Cityscape
Keith Arnatt Another Conceptual photographer I found. I find some of his works related to my project, as he also photographed holes in the ground.

Cityscape

For Invisible Hole Revealed by the Shadow of the Artist 1968 Arnatt dug a square hole in an area of grass, in the bottom of which he placed the cut-out grass before lining the sides with mirrors so that the hole became imperceptible within the larger surface of grass. It was only when a viewers shadow was cast over the hole that its presence was revealed, as is documented by this self portrait. Arnatts use of photography in his work became a means to undermine confidence in the veracity of the photographic medium. He has commented: I was beginning to become aware of the unreliability of photographic evidence and began to play with that feature. I felt that what a photograph could not tell or show might be just as significant as what it could.

Cityscape

This is an interesting idea concentrating on the use of photography and its "reliability". His images are showing something that exists but we can not normally see, or it is hardly noticeable. I find it similar to my idea of representing the existence of lost cities and old civilisations.

Cityscape
Shoot - Images from behind the scenes ##

After I found right holes to photograph I set my camera on the tripod and started to think about the composition. I wanted to shoot from a low angle, but my tripod didn't allow me to do so. Therefore I had to modify my tripod slightly. I inverted the part of the tripod, where the camera is mounted and I had to shoot with the camera in upside down position, which was very difficult, because I had to almost stick my head to the ground. It was raining all day before this shoot and the area was soaked. I was lucky to have the prism mounted on my camera, which made framing and focusing easier, rather than if I had a waist level finder. I used small aperture to keep most of the scene in focus. Exposure times varied. Most of images were shot at F22 or F16

Cityscape
Contact sheet

I chose these three images as they work best as a series as well as an individual images.

Cityscape
Final images

I like the way this image may This image is more engaging. In this photograph we can see more confuse the viewer in terms of the because of the camera angle, by clearly how this area look like from sense of scale. looking straight down, the viewer not the distance, as I steeped back and We can see some elements in this only becomes a spectator, but also raised my camera up on the tripod. scene which can be treated as takes part in the process This gave a better view and evidence of human presence. of "excavation" which was probably better sense of scale. (building materials can be documented by the use of Again bricks and rubble may be regarded as remains after a photography. perceived as ruins of an old former settlement etc.) settlement. I like the idea behind these images rather than the images itself. If I was going re-shoot I would choose better time of a day and better weather, as it started to rain again just before I took my last shot. The sun was setting on the other side of the place, so I couldn't take advantage of the "golden hour" where the light is more pleasant and would result in more contrast in the images and probably more depth as well. The only chance to re-shoot would be in the early morning when the sun is rising.

Evaluation
My Landscape project reflects the negative impact of human activities on the nature, which are result of industrialisation. By constant development human takes advantage of natural resources and changes environment very significantly. I would like to see my images as large prints at the exhibition. I decided to photograph industrial elements in the face of the vast nature to emphasize the problem of industrialisation and its impact on environment. I photographed my landscapes focusing on the icons of human activities which make the natural environment fall into decay. Therefore landscape in my images is blurred/out of focus. I divided scenes in half and introduced landscape in the foreground leaving human made world in the background to show this transition from natural world to human environment. I used standard lens to maintain the sense of scale and correct perspective. As a principle I kept horizon lines straight and at the same height in all three images. My Cityscape project relates to the history of the city and its representation in present day via its remains. It shows how important are works carried out by archaeologists for future generations. By the use of photography they are able to preserve the trace of old civilisations and document their existence. My conceptual cityscape images fit in editorial field of photography and could be shown in magazines such as National Geographic. I chose to shoot holes in the ground to represent them as mysterious trace of former civilisation. I used standard lens to keep correct perspective and used small aperture to keep most of the scene in focus. I shot from low angle to confuse the viewer in terms of scale. Tight framing makes the viewer take part in the excavation process.

Evaluation
From the beginning of the project I knew what I wanted to do for my Landscape task, but I was a bit unsure about my cityscape. I think I spent more time concentrating on task one, and then realised I haven't got not much time left for the second task, which resulted with only one shoot that I did for my cityscape. Next time I need to consider better time management and keep myself more organised. In my shoot productions I need to consider more planning for the shoot to be able to chose the right time of a day for best lighting conditions, especially when creating series of images. I think I struggled to keep the same colour balance in my landscape images. I also need to be more precise when printing my final images to maintain consistent tones and colours in all images. For the first time I used spotting kit to get rid of a scratch on one of my final images, and only made it worse. Therefore I should practise beforehand. The most significant challenge on these units was to get an interesting and unique idea that would stand out from the ideas of others, and that it would be possible to fulfil in the time we were given. Also to make the project more profound I should use more resources for my research.