Assignment 6: Fieldwork

Task: Produce a series of images that responds to the idea of 'transitions' within the landscape. 

Fieldwork: You reap what you sow. 

Early on in my Landscape course, I stumbled across the location for this assignment, whilst walking along a public footpath. I followed a route which took me through a field of wheat. It was a place that I had driven past many times before, but never really paid much attention to. Now, I had the time to stand there and appreciate the view. Two very distinctive trees towered above a field of wheat. It was late August, and the crop was soon to be harvested. This moment gave me an opportunity to witness the end result of the field. Once the wheat had been gathered, then the whole process would begin again. Therefore I was able to plan where I would focus my attention throughout the course of this project. 

At first, I visited the field every fortnight, photographing various views, including close ups of the soil and hedgerows. I quickly realised that such a regular number of visits made it difficult to distinguish between any significant transition. So, I started to vary the length of time between trips to the field. As I built up an archive of images, I found myself being more selective about what I had photographed. I started to pursue the views that worked best, based on the images I had taken before.  

When I knew that I would be working on this assignment, I envisaged producing a series of seasonal images. However, as the year went on, it was difficult to distinguish between when one season had begun and one ended. Instead, I found myself observing changes in how the footpaths looked and the growth of the crop.  Whilst there were obvious changes in the crop, there were also constants. Thorny hedgerows were transformed into leafy borders, whilst cyclists and runners continued to make their way along the public footpath, across the field. 

During the year, I used Adobe Lightroom to organise my images into those pairs which showed transitions. On one occasion I was fortunate to have photographed the field after a flurry of snow, so this had an influence on the images I captured after then. The weather was a key factor in the changes that I could see, such as dry, stony footpaths being turned to muddy tracks after a heavy shower. The Blurb plugin for Lightroom made it very straight forward to arrange the images into a photo book. 

In order to achieve the varied images in Fieldwork, it has taken a lot of planning and commitment. The strap line for my photo book, "You reap what you sow," refers to both the endeavours of the farmer and the photographer. The photo book itself is a product of a year's toil in the field. 

I don't often print my photographs, so to receive a photo book in the post was very motivating for me. It has encouraged me to consider printing my photographs more often. Furthermore, following my recent exploration of animated gifs and multiple exposures in my 3rd and 5th assignments, I can see how the same techniques could have been used for this assignment. However, I didn't have enough time to take the necessary photographs. Nevertheless, I would like to continue photographing the field over time, and explore using an audio visual presentation. 

An online version of my photo book can be found below. 

 

Artist's Statement  

Convoys of monotonous traffic hurtle up and down the A5. Meanwhile, a much slower series of transitions are unknowingly occurring in the streaks of green, brown and yellow, which blur across their windscreens. Although the mechanics of farming may have changed over the years, the very essence of it has remained much the same. Our contract with nature enables the farmer to put food on our tables, whilst providing the landscape with a structure and purpose. The field encompasses all that is to do with work, life and death. You reap what you sow.