Assignment 4: A sense of place

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Brief: This assignment will consider the underlying appreciation of what spaces and buildings mean for the people who live in among them. Imagine you are on assignment for an intelligent, thoughtful travel publication that is demanding a considered, in-depth treatment. Aim to produce sufficient images (about 6) on a specific location.

Bergen, Norway

Founded in around 1070 AD, Bergen has developed to become the second largest city in Norway. The city centre is located on the shore of Byfjorden, which is where I have decided to use for this assignment.

 

The location for this assignment has been one of the hardest things to decide upon. I really enjoy using my photography as an opportunity to explore and document new places. This has meant that I have had a wide range of places to choose from, before I even attempt to select my final set of images which I feel represent the historic, commercial and geographic sense of place. 

Whilst the 12 images (above) offered a variety of scale and visual variety, the tricky part was then deciding which to keep and which to exclude. With so many aspects to Bergen in was going to be difficult to whittle them down to just about 6. I suppose this is where my previous DPP course experience kicks in and helps me to decide on my final selection. 

I kept on referring back to the brief to maintain a focus. When reviewing the 12 images I realised that some were of a similar subject, for example the fish market and the statues. Having a limit of around 6 photographs, it didn't seem wise to use similar images. I found it worthwhile leaving the assignment for a few days and revisiting it fresh. Below are my final set of images

 f/11   ISO 200   90mm   1/180

1. The crane created a much more striking image than the photograph of the container terminal. Located on the western coast of Norway, Bergen is a centre for aquaculture and marine research.

 f/5.6   85mm   ISO 100   1/90

2. A seven meter high monument located at Torgallmenningen. Made by Dyre Vaa (1903-1980) in 1950. Consists of 12 statues. The monument celebrates Norway's contribution to the ocean since the Vikings. The photograph above is the statue of a merchant, with St. Johannes church just visible in the background. My original set of 12 photographs included an image of the statues reflected in a puddle. I was trying something creative, but when deciding on the final selects that it didn't show enough information about the place. 

f/8   ISO 100   135mm   1/45

3. Situated among the Seven Mountains, a lack of suitable space to build on means that Bergen has a mix of old and modern buildings packed closely together. I captured this street scene because I was fascinated by how so much could be seen in such a small area. 

4.    f/3.5   ISO 400   28mm   1/180

Bergen's fish market has a long history as the centre for the fishing trade. I did have a photograph that showed a man preparing a lobster at the market, but I felt that it didn't really reflect the place. The image above has much more information to see, with tourists looking at various products, including tubes of caviar in the foreground. I also preferred this image due to it mainly consisting of red, white and blue, the colours of the Norwegian flag. 

f/3.5   ISO 400   30mm   1/750

5. In today's hi-tech world of smart phones, it was a novelty to find a phone box. It was unused , so I waited until I could capture two people in the window, albeit outside opposite. For me it signifies the remoteness of Bergen. 

f/9.5   ISO 200   32mm   1/60

6. Due to Bergen being tucked high up, close to the northern sea, and surrounded by mountains, unique weather conditions occur, which results in approximately 240 days of rain and a mean temperature of 7.6 °C. Therefore, even in the summer time, market stalls of woolly hats and gloves are very popular! 

f/11   ISO 100   28mm   1/30

7. I chose this image of pedestrians waiting to cross the road, because the girl looking back towards the camera draws the viewer back into the photograph, as if to ask what's next for Bergen. 

Conclusion

During this assignment I attempted to illustrate what Bergen has to offer without photographing typical scenes favoured by tourists. If I had longer in Bergen I could have focused on a particular industry or activity within Bergen, for example the workers in the fish market. However the danger with that is that I might restrict the variety of photographs I could take. Through concentrating on Bergen I have come to understand the city more. Knowing that the physical geography limits the availability of suitable land to build on, I could investigate this further, looking for examples of how the Norwegians have, or have not, adapted to the environment they live in, such as the style of accommodation and structure of buildings. 

Overall I think I have achieved my aim of providing an overview of Bergen. Completing this assignment has enabled me to consider how I can communicate visually and being selective with my choice of subject and composition.