I found this course interesting and quite difficult. I don’t think that I have ever taken so many pictures of people. It has certainly taken me out of my comfort zone. Although I have often taken discrete street photographs, this is the first time that I have ever asked complete strangers to pose for me, as I had to do for Assignment One and for Exercise 2.4.

Doing so was a different experience, and I have to commend the people who offered their time.

I feel that I have learned quite a lot during this course, and this year I have decided to take an external class to improve my street photography. I have learnt about several photographers who were new to me, and I have also been lucky enough to meet a couple of them during the year.

In the process of this course, I have learnt that to produce good photographs you need more than a good camera. You need to show an interest in your subject, and that to obtain a good portrait requires you to do more than just sit the subject in front of your lens. I need to learn to know my subject and take time with them before pressing the shutter. The same applies to all photography. As David Hurn said in his joint book with Bill Jay, “The photographer must have an intense curiosity, not just a passing visual interest, in the theme of the pictures.”(Hurn and Jay, 1997).

Reading their book has caused me to make one important change to the settings on my camera, in that I no longer have it set to show an instant preview of the image that I have just taken. The preview tempts me to take my eye from the viewfinder. That means that I may miss that decisive moment which would make the perfect picture. I now only look at my preview screen after I have completely finished shooting.

On a side aspect, purchasing the Ricoh camera for Exercise 2.2 has opened up some new possibilities. Although the camera does have some obvious flaws, the results from both still photography and video are definitely interesting. (see This is a form of photography which I will continue to pursue and try to improve on during the coming year.


  • Hurn, D. and Jay, B. (1997). On being a photographer. Anacortes, WA: LensWork Pub.

Bringing the past into the present

This project is partially a spin-off from Assignment Five. Having visited the village of my childhood to take photographs of my parent’s house, I was tempted to take more photographs of the village. As it happened, after I had completed assignment five, a Facebook friend of mine uploaded a host of old images of my old village. As I had to pay another visit down to Essex for personal reasons I decided to try and take photographs of the village which exactly duplicated the location of the old postcards. Continue reading Bringing the past into the present

Assignment 5 – Reflections

Unfortunately, this project did not work out the way that I had intended. I was hoping to photograph all the places that I have lived and photograph all the current occupants. I was disappointed to only get two replies to my letters, but given what I was to discover later, this seems less surprising. The first discovery was when I searched for my old residences on Google Maps, only to find out that my old flat in Norwich was under demolition. Also, the return of my letters to the flat in Chelmsford suggests that it is currently unoccupied. This makes a certain amount of sense as it would have been an ideal place for ‘buy to let’ and it may now be a rented flat rather than owner-occupied. This would possibly be corroborated by the fact that when I took the picture of the block, the blinds on the windows of my old flat were closed, even though it was still daylight. With further research, I have found out that the freehold of the whole block was sold two years ago. Continue reading Assignment 5 – Reflections

Assignment 5 – Identity and Place

For this assignment I decided to look at the places which created my own identity. I made the decision to photograph all the places that I have lived over my 66 years and, with permission, photograph the current occupants.

I was brought up in the village of Great Baddow in Essex, now part of the city of Chelmsford.

This is the earliest photograph I could find of the village, taken with my first 35mm camera in 1963, when I was 11 years old.

Continue reading Assignment 5 – Identity and Place

Preparations for Assignment 5


I have had several ideas for this last and most important assignment for Photography 1 – Identity and Place. The first relates to the small village where I live now, I am thinking of interviewing and photographing people from the village, then making a video presentation about it. My biggest problem with this will be getting cooperation from everyone involved. Some of them are not that cooperative in general. Continue reading Preparations for Assignment 5

Exercise 5.3

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.

I started this exercise by choosing a particular journey. Although I am now retired I decided to make use of a journey that I took many times each week whilst I was still working: from my house to the small railway halt where I would catch the train to London. As I live in the country this is a short journey along country roads although I have to cross two busy main roads, the A134 and the A10. Continue reading Exercise 5.3

Exercise 5.2

Choose a viewpoint, perhaps looking out of your window or from a café in the central square, and write down everything you can see. No matter how boring it seems or how detailed, just write it down. Spend at least an hour on this exercise.

I am sitting here beside the river, opposite the main part of the town of King’s Lynn.

Directly opposite me is the ancient Customs House and the rest of the quay. Years ago when my grandmother lived here it would have been full of ships unloading their cargoes into the warehouses. Now the warehouses are flats and the quay has been turned into a car park. Continue reading Exercise 5.2

Writing Photographs

On Saturday 13th October, I visited the Tate Modern gallery in London for an event entitled Writing Photographs.

At this stage, I had no idea what the event consisted of, but it sounded interesting and relevant to my studies.

I arrived at the Starr Cinema where we were welcomed and the event started with a short discussion about a few photographs and their place in the culture. In particular, mention was made of the work of Jenny Holzer and her images which make use of projected text.

Sorry, this image is no longer available
For the Guggenheim (Holzer 2009)

Continue reading Writing Photographs