Assignment 1 – ‘Square Mile’

The brief to take a series of six to twelve photographs in response to the concept of ‘The Square Mile’ initially raised loads of literal questions in my logical mind. How was the square mile to be measured? Was it a mile in every direction from my house? But that wouldn’t be a square, that would be a circle. Was it a square mile with my house at the central point? Did it have to have my house at the centre or could I bend the rules a bit? How would the tutor know?

I eventually calmed down a bit on the literal thoughts and started to panic about how I could represent where I live in a creative way. I had a look at the practitioners recommended for research in the course materials, but didn’t feel drawn to replicating any of their styles.

So, I started to consider what Hucknall means to me? I’ve lived here for seven years and don’t actually know the town that well. I spend most of my time here in my house or getting a train or tram out of here. That was the starting point – the tram stop. I love the crazy lines that are formed by the construction of the bridge, the steps, the train and tram lines.

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As I was taking the shots at that location, a lad was skateboarding on the platform. As he left, he apologised for spoiling my shots – his silhouette as he walked up the steps was my favourite of the set.

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Hucknall is an ex-mining town.

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The shot of monument to those who lost their lives in the colliery with the autumnal leaves covering the bench appears to signify that although the reminder is there, the seating area is forgotten.

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Modern day Hucknall’s High Street has its fair share of pawn-brokers, empty shops, boarded up windows and brightly-coloured ‘bargain’ outlets. The shots of the old cinema (now a bingo hall holding medium night), the shops, the ATM sign for ‘lucky people’ and the poorly discarded cigarette butts aim to encapsulate the sad nature of today’s High Street.

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Hucknall is also famous for being Lord Byron’s burial place. My set wouldn’t be complete without a few shots of the churchyard, and neighbouring market square. The World War II memorial and seats have pleasing arcs – a contrast to the straight lines seen elsewhere.

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In completing the short project, I changed my mind several times as to whether to concentrate on more shots at a single location or to cover a variety of locations. If I were to develop the project further, I would like to include night shots at both the tram stop and the High Street. I would also like to include shots of the people out and about in Hucknall.

All shots were taken on 1 November 2015 on a Canon 5DMk III with a Tamron 28-75mm lens. Photoshop CC was used for contrast and exposure adjustments, cropping and straightening.

(495 words)

Contact sheets for 40 of my shots can be viewed via these links:

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