I just want to jot down a further exploration idea for my assignment 5 in relation to found objects in alleys, before I lose my train of thought. I am wondering what the difference or quality of discarded items would be in different socio-economic neighbourhoods. Would the discarded items in a predominately high/upper income suburb be in better quality than those in a middle class or low income neighbourhood? What kind of “scrap” would I find there? Where would be the most proliferation of junk? Where would the owners place the items?
I’m pondering this because on the two days that I have spent driving around I have come across most of the items in the alleyways behind the houses, but have also come across some items on the pavement in front of the houses and this seems to convey a sense of desperation that that owner really wants to get rid of the item as there is obviously more passing traffic in the roads than in the alleys. But yesterday on the way to work, at an extremely busy intersection near my home, I came across, from what I could see from the car, a good sofa that had been dumped in the park between two bus stops. So now there might be another factor to consider – people driving their junk to some public place to dispose of it. The sofa might have been owned by someone living across the road, but then why wouldn’t they put it on the sidewalk outside their house, or in their alley?
One of the profs at the university where I work was quite interested to see the photos that I had taken so far and she remarked that it would be really interesting to write a story about each piece of furniture (she is a creative writer), so maybe we can collaborate down the line on this later.
Just a quick posting for some feedback on a possible idea for Assignment 5. I am amazed at the way our society just throws stuff out – sometimes perfectly serviceable items. What further amazes me and has for the twenty years I’ve been living here is that no much effort is made to sell on the unwanted item. Yes, there are garage sales here, but it seems that whatever is left over on that day is relegated to the sidewalk ‘free for the taking’. Behind the houses in the alleys even more items appear and there is an unwritten rule here that if the thing is in the alley you can take it if you want it.
Yesterday I drove around for only an hour and took photos of found objects in the alleys (see contact sheets below). Before I get too involved in this project I would like to hear back from my peers to see if this has some potential. If I go forward with this as my assignment, I will obviously flesh out the notions of the throw-away society that we have become and the resultant consequences.
Well it seems that the fates have conspired against me! I have now been forced to go back to the drawing board for my assignment 5. Mother Nature has intervened! At the moment there are about 138 forest fires burning in British Columbia and the location of these fires range anything from 300 to 600 kms distance from Vancouver. You’d think that wouldn’t affect me right? Not so – the winds have changed, and a high pressure belt is sitting tucked in tight and all that smoke has now blanketed Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. It is unbelievable just how thick it is. I live at the foot of one of the local ski slopes and I cannot even see the mountain anymore. There is no way I can try my original ideas under these conditions.
As you can see from the photo on the right the mountain is no longer visible. If I was doing the Landscape module now this would be perfect for the sublime exercises :-). The sun is also completely blanketed and appears as a small fuzzy orange blob in the sky – barely visible. Its all very apocalyptic and extremely eerie. Any night photography renders the sky orange, as I found out last night. I’m not even going to mention the respiratory dangers this smoke is causing. Our air quality index is currently standing at 7 which is extremely high.
I have just read a news article that the substation that supplies power to Vancouver and Vancouver Island could be in danger as well. I’m not going to think about those repercussions just yet … but if I do go silent you’ll all know why.
I’ve been out and have had fun experimenting with the multiple exposures for my assignment. At this point, I’m just playing, seeing where the images lead me, but am very broadly (at the moment) aiming towards something in the line of “the effect of commodification on recreation” or “the effect of industrialization on nature”. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but something is lurking there in my brain about this. Maybe encroachment would be a better term than effect. But as I said I’m still working on finding the hook.
I want to ensure that each image is textured by some natural element, e.g. water/sand, etc. The colour palette is quite different from the images that I made in Mexico – altogether much softer there, even though I was shooting in bright sunlight (see my initial Assignment 5 planning page). I think it is the dark green mountains that are affecting my colour palette here and of course the sea isn’t as turquoise as in Mexico (can you tell I’m still in holiday mode?).
Any way, I would be very grateful for some feedback, while I’m searching for other locations to shoot. Many thanks.
While I was on holiday in Mexico last month I was standing on the balcony of our hotel suite and taking photos of the activity on the beach and the gorgeous sunset. After a while I got bored doing this and switched my camera over to do multiple exposures and played around with various scenarios for a while. The results were actually quite pleasing. After studying the images on the computer when I got home I thought this might be a good technique to use for my final assignment in this module. I was intrigued with the way the texture of the sand and the glimmers and ripples in the water affected the images and the way they interacted with the layer of human evidence or activity. Some examples are below.
I’m not sure if my idea will work on level ground, so I might have to find some locations where I can get a bit of height, or somewhere where I can shoot upwards and get the same type of message. So apart from concentrating on traces and indexicality I just have to find a suitable topic to work on.
At this stage any ideas/comments are very welcome.
Your journey may not involve travelling the world or an excursion across Russia. you might see your journey to the post office every Monday as particularly relevant – or the journey from your bed to the kitchen in the morning. Note the journeys you go on regularly and reflect upon them.
Now photograph them. Remember to aim for consistency in your pictures.
My main journeys consist of travelling to and from work – approximately 16 kilometres each way, trips to the supermarket which is part of my daily commute route. I wasn’t too keen on photographing out of the car window for one of these trips as buses and other traffic usually obscure the views, so I decided to take a walk around the block that I live on and photograph the pathways leading up to the houses. I did not include the houses that did not have foot paths leading from the sidewalk or off their driveways. For consistency I stood at the centre of the pathway on the sidewalk, but for some of the houses where there pathway curved off from the driveway I stood so that the pathway would be centre to my frame, so that all the pathways are basically centred in my frames.
Its quite an eclectic block of houses. Most of the homes were built in the mid-60’s which classifies as a heritage house in Vancouver! But some development has taken place in the ten years that we have lived in this area and large new houses are gradually taking the place of the older houses and of course pushing up our house values (not to mention the property taxes!). Houses are built with wood here in Canada so are extremely easy to knock down. One can go to work in the morning and the house on the corner will still be standing. Upon return it will be nothing but a pile of rubble.
For this exercise we are to chose a view point and write down everything we see over the period of one hour.
I decided to go to the harbourside near the Auto Mall and do my observations there. The area has lawns in front of the beach with scattered built in picnic tables along the way. It overlooks the Vancouver Harbour and DownTown and also the Mosquito Marina boatyard. Its an area where commerce, industry and recreation all converge. There are also bike trails and dog walking parks so there is quite a bit of foot traffic that passes by. I landed up writing up four pages in my notebook but could have written more as I missed somethings while writing. I was quite amazed at the amount of activity that takes place there.
There are clearly lots of mini projects that one can pull out of this observation exercise. Because of the expanse of the harbour (it takes 15 minutes to cross by seabus), I would obviously zoom in on certain objects and have done so if one looks at the final photo of the cruise ship exiting the harbour. Getting closer is not really an option, unless I was to rent a boat and actually go around the harbour, but that is not in my budget at all. I photographed using my DSLR and had no problems.
Below is a bullet point summary of what I saw.
Immediately upon arrival I noticed a boxer dog come bounding up to some people sitting at the picnic table closest to us, with his own trying to catch up to him. He led her quite a merry dance and bounded over to another group sitting on the grass also having a picnic and ended up investigating their late lunch.
People sitting at picnic tables eating lunch
Two girls carrying strange beach bats that had a net surface.
Numerous people walking their dogs. Some were couples, some families, some looked like brothers, others were same-sex friends
A couple sitting on the rocks talking
Barges at anchor loaded with sand, gravel and containers
Cruise ship docked at Canada Place
Bayliners going out of the harbour
Couples walking (numerous)
One family, husband and wife walking, while their two boys rode their bright grass green bikes. The one child had huge training/balancing wheels on his bike and by observing his actions I think he may have been autistic or handicapped.
Flags on the boats and on the boat houses
The ocean current was quite fast flowing and the water was choppy
A boy kicking his ball with his mother
Seaplane landing (numerous times)
Seaplane flying overhead
Seabus coming into Lonsdale Quay harbour. The seabus turns straight around and heads back to DownTown, so there is a crossing from both directions every 15 minutes.
A grandmother kicking a ball to her grandson
Picnic tablecloths flapping in the wind
Long shadows from people and trees
Pleasure boats crossing the harbour (numerous times)
People packing up their picnic and leaving their space under the tree
Couples walking hand in hand (I was quite pleasantly surprised to observe that over the course of the hour there were probably more 50+ year olds walking hand in hand than there were of the younger generation). This could be a potential project.
Single people walking by (too numerous to mention).
New fast ferry enters the harbour. At $80 per crossing to the island its just too expensive to go for a jaunt.
Cormorant sitting on the log circle near the boathouses
People on bicycles of all kinds – mountain bikes, road bikes, retro bikes and even a unicyle went past.
Man dressed in black sitting at picnic table with his bike – also black – propped up against the table.
Camp chair behind him.
Labrador running around on the grass, pauses to pee.
Elderly couple return to their car next to me. The gent hands her down off the pavement so thoughtfully. He is hunched over, wearing blue sweater.
Woman in brown frilly skirt with walking stick and female companion who is carrying a dog poop bag
A white motorbike parks next to me. The rider is wearing a white/black houndstooth check jacket with shiny black helmet. The rider is a young girl. She locks her bike with some difficulty and then walks onto the grass in front.
Young man with a cup of coffee walks by
Little boy explores the rocky embankment, while his grandmother stands watching him from the top.
The motorbike rider comes and sits on the pavement in front of her bike.
A mother and daughter (possibly – they looked related) walk by with their dog and a cup of coffee.
The motorbike rider removes her jacket to reveal a teal green/blue floral shirt underneath and puts it on again.
A man with a doberman with red collar and heavy chain lead walks by.
A cormorant swims in the ocean.
A woman with a retriever goes by
A man and woman on bikes fly past.
A man and woman, walk to the rocky embankment, look at the view and stroll slowly on.
Two women with a pekinese dog walk past. One is Asian, the other has red hair.
A couple and a dog sit under the palm tree.
A couple with an Alsatian dog that is soaking wet and off lead go past
Two boys and a girl carrying balls and water bottles go past.
A man on a bike with a baby trailer followed by his wife also on a bike ride past.
Man, woman and son walking two dogs – poodle and a pug.
Yellow cranes at Lonsdale Quay
White cranes for the new development next to the Quay
Man with red bottle like glasses and strange haircut strides past with a Walkman.
Seagulls fly past.
Cruise ship reverses from its mooring at Canada Place.
Man under the palm tree picks up a skateboard and starts shaking it at the girl with him. Looks like they are having an argument, throws his hands into the air. Whiffs of marijuana come from that direction.
Little boy belonging to the family that was picnicking in front of me is crying because he has stepped on a thorn. He sits down and then throws a tantrum when his mother tries to remove the thorn.
The wind has picked up some more and the swells are increasing on the water.
A rubber dinghy roars past the barge in front, turns and roars back to the boathouses.
The cruise ship has turned and is preparing to leave the harbour.