Ex. 4.6: Proposal for the self-directed project

This exercise involves preparing for the fifth assignment, which will be self-directed.

I’d like to call my assignment something along the lines of, “The Topographics of Infrastructure.”

Project Brief
I’d like to use this assignment as an exploration of unnoticed, un-photographed but essential elements of our man-altered landscape. I’d like to try and continue the adage of the New Topographic movement in the modern day in which every detail is documented. I plan on documenting the undersides of bridges, street-side bins and bus shelters. I’d like to show how man-made structures with the same purpose can differ.

In particular, I had this idea when listening to the words of Lewis Baltz. His photography captured, material that people filtered out” and “things that were marginalised … things that were off of the scene, that were never observed, were never spoken about because they were so ordinary and quotidian, because they were so commonplace.”.

I will be using my local county of Sussex, which includes a variety of different environments within a relatively accessible distance. I can choose from Chichester to Brighton and up to Horsham.

I will be exploring urban spaces on foot and more rural locations in my car. I will use the internet -in particular, Google Maps- to scout out locations and how to access them. Aside from some bridges, everywhere I shoot will be publicly accessible.

I’d like to explore the commonalities and differences in man-made structures that share the same purpose.

Influences and Research
Whilst putting my own night-time spin on the shots, I’d like to mimic the work of the Bechers and create sets of 6-9 images in a square format.

I will begin my research with the book, “Photography and Landscape” by Rod Giblett and Juha Tolonen.

From the internet, I’m likely to use Google Maps -including Street View- heavily.

I will be drawing from my own library of photographs from the last five years, in which I have visited many of the local bridges for light trails.

Likely Treatment
The photographs will be taken at night and will require long-exposures to use any natural light. This will require a tripod.

I will be using my Sony A7r alongside a Voigtlander 21mm Ultron f/1.8 and Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 (depending on the subject and distance).

In the style of the Bechers, every shot will be taken head-on, from the same vantage point and angle.

Potential Outcome
I think that the best way to express this series is in an exhibition that moves around the country, stopping in the main towns and cities.  The exhibition would be made up of unframed prints, perhaps printed onto card. I think that 9×9” would be a good size for each individual print.

I don’t foresee many costs outside of producing the prints. Other that that, I will be using petrol to travel in my car from place to place.

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