Exploring the subject from the office
27 July 2018
I have just read an article in the mail online (don’t groan) about Artist Benjamin Grant, who is creating some stunning works of art using google satellite view. This rang a bell as the exercises in part 2 made us look at the idea of appropriation and this seems to fit right in with that the article is here Mail Online: Artist captures series of hypnotic images from across the globe
These images seem somewhat reminiscent of the work I did for Assignment 1 however when I started to look at the idea myself I found that lots of things were possible like the almost impossible shot of St Pauls which would take a lot of paperwork and permissions to achieve with a drone:
From a practical point of view, the weather has been so hot for the last week or so making going outside genuinely dangerous, I did a shoot for a book the other day and was quite ill from the heat for about two days. This has prompted me to hide away a bit in my office, which has really stopped me going out to investigate the old railway line for assignment 2. It struck me that using google maps / google earth I could scout out the locations for each shoot on this project, the result was eye-opening:
A view of Ash Green Halt from the bridge, The station is now a house as seen here from the front:
Using the google maps satellite view it is possible to see the marks on the landscape that still exist this shot shows the whole line from Ashgreen Junction to Farnham Junction with Ash Green Halt and Tongham Halt all marked as red spots:
From here I was able to do two things:
- Explore places I can get to by road to take pictures and;
- Zoom in to street view where available to see what is there
Here are the results of that exercise Drovers Way looking from the bridge down at the old railway which is now a footpath.
A view from the bridge at pound lane looking down the Ash Wanborough line at the spot where Ash Green Junction used to join to the Guildford line.
The start of the footpath leading to the old railway in spoil lane just before the old station at Tongham Halt
The location of the humpback bridge at Tongham halt which was removed when the station was redeveloped, this is what it used to look like:
The ground has been taken down to the level of the track and the humpback bridge removed there are now houses in place of the old Tongham halt station:
View from what was the north side of the track:
And from the south side of the track. The only problem with google maps / google earth is the street view is limited to streets that Google was able to drive down and capture so its not possible to go onto some of the more rural parts of the track, it is, however, possible to use the google map 3D view to get a form of aerial shot of the area.
This shows the path of the old railway and the black box roughly shows where the Tongham Halt station was situated, it is remarkable that even where the railway has been eradicated by development from above the path it took is still evident as marks on the landscape.
This is the shot you can’t really take it’s the point where the railway was removed to allow the A331 to pass through, the old track went diagonally across the new road, and of course, you can’t stop the car get out and take pictures now. Google maps have the edge here.
This shot shows the track of the railway from the old Tongham Halt station to the A331, it is still possible to make out the passage of the line, interestingly boundaries of fields don’t change much over time and the only real change to boundaries is the scar that is the A331.
This is the end of the branch line as it joins the mainline to Farnham station at Farnam Junction which is no longer there:
Moving back from Farnham Junction towards Tongham there is a patch of the line that sits in an island formed by the New A31 and the off-ramp to Runfold, it is still possible to see traces of the line though it is becoming overgrown and less recognisable:
Google street view allows me to get onto the slip road but does not really allow us to look down into the old cut, there are places to leave a car up here so a conventional camera may get a better view. I looked at this from the A31 on street view and there are now high trees making it impossible to see the cutting so on foot is likely to be the way to see this.
What is the point of all this?
This is a good question why did I do this research from my office desk, the answer is really positive, I have identified a series of places I can go and take some pictures of this journey from Ash Green Junction to Farnham Junction, I know there are some places I physically can’t get to, like the site of Farnham Junction as its on private land and there are no access roads. It has allowed me to verify the validity of this response to the assignment all while saving petrol and stopping me from going out in the sun and getting more ill. I think this exercise has been a result, I will go ahead in the next couple of weeks with a shooting plan to see if the images I can take meet the bill at which point I will evaluate the need to extend the journey along the Watercress line.