Drive-thru

Brief: Produce a series of approximately 12 photographs that are made on, or explore the idea of, a journey. 

Ever since I had completed my first assignment, I have been wondering what to do for this assignment. In my previous courses I have tended to jump to quickly to each assignment without spending the necessary time researching the topic thoroughly. Despite this, during this course I have come to realise that the journey to the assignment is just as, if not more, important as the assignment itself. Therefore after I had read the assignment brief I decided to leave it and concentrate on reading round typologies and topography. 

Whether it's a short walk to the newsagents, or driving to work, everyday involves a journey of some kind. Subsequently, this meant that there were a lot of possible ways to approach this assignment, however sometimes too much choice is as good as no choice! At first it was difficult to decide which journey to depict, so I decided to concentrate on reading around the subject and wait for some inspiration. 

Then, after reading about how Edward Ruscha photographed a sequence of images to produce 'Every Building on Sunset Strip', I thought about how I could use time-lapse photography to capture images of a journey. By coincidence, the next journey that I was going to make was to McDonalds drive-thru, and I began to formulate this assignment. 

For previous OCA assignments I have used a DSLR to take the photographs because of its ability to control various image-taking features, such as aperture and shutter speed. For this project a DSLR didn't seem practical, because of its size, so I had to think of an alternative. With the ability to use GPS and support in-car navigation, mobile phones are an integral part of journeys. Therefore I decided that I would use my phone to take the photographs of this journey. It also meant that I could use a time-lapse app on the phone. The app could be set to take a a photograph every 10 seconds, for as long as necessary.

My next journey was to get a take-away from McDonalds. I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out this method, incase it was something I could use for my assignment. My tutor feedback from my first assignment had encouraged me to take more risks, so I felt that this was something I would not normally attempt. 

Whilst I was driving to the drive-thru, my ideas for the assignment were formulating. With the camera pointing through the windscreen, and having to concentrate on driving, I was unable to influence which shots were taken. I felt that this was similar to the notion of a journey, whereby we intend to reach a particular destination, but there are a number of factors, such as the road and its other users, which we have no control over. 

The intention of using time-lapse was to reflect the routine, autonomous nature of going through a drive-thru. No matter which one you arrive at, the process is the same: choosing the correct lane; looking at the menu; ordering; paying at the window; and collecting your food. The phone would be systematically taking a photograph. I used the car phone-holder to position it pointing through the windscreen, to give a driver's perspective, similar to Stephen Shore. Also, the late afternoon sunshine created a colourful scene that reminded me of Shore's colourful photographs.