Assignment 1: square mile

Research and analysis: Assignment 1: follow this link:

 Here in assignment one I show a series of images that depict a particular time in history and a particular culture: that of Spain. There are an enormous number of buildings abandoned throughout the countryside and these structures, during my travels through Spain over the years have always fascinated me. They are a part of a legacy of a culture and country that has seen many changes and events since the civil war. Over time these structures have taken on a more symbolic meaning for me which is more a universal one. Change.

This selection of images was a deviation from the brief. I show the abandonment of values and a changing culture through a series of 12 images that depict people and buildings in a state of flux or change. The assignment was loosely subtitled abandonment.

The feedback on the assignment was to look again at some of the images for the content and notice more closely what needs to be left out of the frame. The narrative itself as an idea worked fairly well. The images draw  out the theme.

As a first attempt it’s not bad. It would need to be reworked in order to improve its overall quality in terms of a set of images hanging together and some of the photos admittedly have shortcomings in terms of the viewer holding interest.

Feedback on the project. Firstly there was feedback on the basics such as choosing what goes into the frame and what to exclude. This I think could have been done a lot more careful especially with the opening image here below and then with the image depicting a church. The surroundings do not allow clear distinction of the objects within the photo.


What did I learn? As a post process of reflection I have been learning more about framing the images and working to harmonise the photo within the frame. I think that some of the images that I shot for this assignment are chaotic and do not define themselves well enough. The viewer just might get bored at worst.

I have learned a lot from reviewing feedback and since looking at various sequences and series of photos. Some of the most impacting series (cinematic style) have been those of Duane Michals. Although he uses more cinematic narrative, I find that he portrays a very strong sense of story.

Images from ‘Abandonment and change’ Assignment 1 foundations in photography

1. Abandonment


2.Abandonment of the old
3. Abandonment of the old


4. Old games I


5. Old values
6. Arrested development ‘The new’
7: Old meets new


8. Old games II


9. Moving into the new


10.’Adapt to change’


11.welcome to the new


“My overall impression is that you are competent in being able to make good images – good in terms of getting the basics right: exposure, focus and basic composition – but are also developing concepts and how you can use your photography to express your own feelings about something.”


“While you can make technically good images – in focus and well exposed, you need to consider carefully components of an image and how images can combine to enhance narrative. I’ll go into this in more detail in my comments below.”

Yes I agree. I was not selective enough in some of the images and placed things in the frame that were not really necessary as part of the scheme of the sequence. Also I think that the doubling of images did not help enhance the theme in this case.
“You need to work on expanding your log to show more of your thinking behind concept development coupled with more research into other related works and analysis of your own imagery.”

Absolutely, I was not really including at this stage much of the process as this was the first assignment and I think it has taken time (writing in retrospect) to get used to all the elements of minting and documenting evidence.

“You seemed to have adapted the brief by presenting images from outside the square mile to explore the idea of time passing – the abandonment of some old values and the adoption of new ones. That’s fine but you do need to acknowledge this and explain why in your log. It would also be good to include a review and analysis of the results.”
Yes I strayed from the brief somewhat and went to explore a theme that was of great interest to me although not totally unrelated. I did not acknowledge this that well, although did mention in the intro that I was doing this.

Feedback on assignment

Technical and Visual Skills

“As mentioned your work demonstrates that you have the ability to make good images – in focus, well exposed and with standard compositional competence from a technical standpoint. You have made a good start with your photography and my comments below are not meant to discourage you but point out areas that you need to be thinking about for future development.

You include square and portrait and landscape rectangular format images. This can detract from the continuity of your set of images and so you need to think carefully about this and do it for a reason rather than just that’s the way images turned out.”

An obvious error that I did not think about at the time, adding together horizontal and vertical frames.

“Also as the photographer you have control over what to include and exclude from your image and need to develop you visual skills of taking time to look carefully and deciding what to leave in or out in relation to how this supports your narrative.

For example, in you first image what particularly attracts your attention – you have quite a mixture. Do you need to show all of the window? would you rather focus on the upturned table or do the undamaged tiles juxtaposed with the broken chair speak louder of abandonment? Do you need to show both? The idea behind the square mile is to help you develop your skills in looking at and for detail.”

“Sometime the less obvious is better at conveying your message particularly if it combines with other images.”

This point is an interesting one, and one that I think comes with maturity in the art form. I think that as time goes on one develops the ability to instinctively feel what is appropriate and what is to be left outside of the frame.

“You have done well to focus on a particular theme – change/abandonment of old for new and have succeeded in putting together a set of images to illustrate this.

“You have included some duplication of ideas with some images where you have other images in your contact sheet that could be used to convey greater depth or commentary.”

“Images 4 and 5 for example both convey the abandonment of the old (as the graffiti covered church) for the new (the church being hemmed in by the high rise modern buildings). One of these could then be accompanied by image IMG 5010 from your contact sheet 2. This could be your comment in the ‘STOP’ and the arrow pointing both ways showing that there is choice in how we progress.

Another example is where you include in image2 a good but fairly standard image of the building. This is also depicted in image 3 (which I think is a much stronger image) the building with the adult couple – with the woman looking as if she is pregnant. If you substituted image IMG 5052 from your contact sheet for image 2 this could be seen to depict the old being replaced with the new – the old man leaving with the arrival of a new couple with a baby on the way.”

This was an important point about building narrative. Again at the time I was going with an idea, one that admittedly was not as well thought through as it might have been.

Demonstration of creativity
“You do show good creativity – I like image 8 particularly. You use of the mirror to show aspects other than the four people playing the game.”





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