From Here To There

PHO704: Sustainable Prospects

The first week of this new unit is now past and a quick scan through the week 2 lectures and information is further convincing me that the emphasis of this unit is on the commercial side of photography. This is probably going to make it a difficult unit for me as, at age 57, I’m not really interested in starting a second career and have no real wish to take on the stress and hassle of setting up a small business but, on the other hand, the unit is likely to be a useful source of information regarding areas that I would never have looked at or investigated.

When I started the MA it was because I wanted to know more about photography, photographers and why the images that they produced made such an impact on me.

Looking back over my interested in photography it has become apparent that my main focus is in the area of documentary photography. Probably the greatest impact has come from the work of Don McCullin but not from the work he produced as a ‘War Photographer’ but that produced within the UK. I have also been deeply influenced by the work of Phillip Jones-Griffiths and massively so by the work of ‘Chuck’ Rapoport in the weeks after the Aberfan Disaster in 1966.

I have four main areas of interest / photographic work at the present time:-

  1. The ‘Built Environment’ in and around the village of Merthyr Vale, South Wales.
  2. Locating and capturing images of the surviving colliery headgear with the South Wales region (although placed on the ‘back burner’ at the present time.
  3. The Copper and Tin mining region of West Penwith in Cornwall and any comparisons that can be drawn between the Valleys of South Wales.
  4. Rail Transport, concentrating upon the work day journey between the stations at Carmarthen and Llanelli in West Wales.

Looking back over the images produced in the areas of points 1-3 above, many of which date back to well before the start of the MA course, I can see that I am not really interested in photographing ‘people’ but more the environment and locality in which they live and work. Where I do make an attempt to photograph individuals the images are usually made from behind or in a manner which does not reveal the face of the individual being imaged. Such images are usually of a candid nature with the subjects (hopefully) remaining unaware of the camera.

At the present time most of my work is being made in the area covered by point 4 (above) and is strongly influenced by the work of Tom Wood. This forms a ‘personal project’ which I will discuss further in another, later post.

The website ‘Lecture in Progress’ contains some quite useful advice that I could have seriously used when I first became a student in 1981 studying for a B.Sc in Environmental Biology at Swansea!


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