Assignment 1: Local Communities
This assignment is an experiment in objectivity: faced with feelings of ambivalence, even negativity, about where I live I tried to find a way to put my preconceptions to one side and produce a set of images that show my area is it really is. Over a number of weeks, I walked around my home town of Stanley in County Durham with my camera over my shoulder set to take pictures every 30 seconds. As soon as I started looking at these I realised the futility of my attempt to arrive at some sort of truthful document – if I selected the images using in a random way then some, if not all, would be of empty, blurred walls. If I removed these images from the selection (and there were many because of the way they weer captured) then the exercise would no longer have the objectivity I aimed for. Instead, I worked on first short listing and then refining a selection of 10 images. The more I looked the more I saw recurring motifs appearing – the strongest of which was that of a lone figure in the frame. These unknown passers by, captured by my camera without either their knowledge or my control, began to represent my inner thoughts about my own disengagement with my community – they represented a form of alienation I felt in myself. Chance led to these pictures being made but it is only through my intervention that they come together as a set.