Landscape A3 Spaces to places
Click on the image above for a larger view of the set click on the images below for a larger view of the individual images
Is this assignment my strongest work yet, well no it is not. I started this assignment and got sidetracked by the sculptures in the park, and my initial submission was more about the individual pieces and not the place, I also made the mistake of randomly swapping from landscape to portrait for the output. My tutor’s comments were spot on the mark.
If I am honest the point at which I did the initial assignment back in March I was very acutely aware of my impending deadline and probably panicking and rushing a bit. Getting the extension was useful in two ways it made me plan the completion of the module and gave me time to get the work done, however, the weather had other ideas and so the final shoot was forced on to Christmas Eve.
So that’s the excuses but did I achieve what I was trying to and could I have done it better.
Firstly I did achieve what I intended too in as much as the work now shows the sculpture park and the way it contains the sculptures as part of the landscape, it is really a gallery much like the art galleries we visit to view other works of art and photography. People come to look at sculptures and to buy them, and much like an art gallery they also come to look and enjoy them especially where they neither have the room or the money to house them at home.
This place is a former bit of woodland that has been transformed from an unused space into a place of art by the park. It addresses much of the PPS Wheel discussed earlier, it has elements of Sociability, being a place to visit with friends or family the people are extremely friendly and welcoming and made quite a fuss of me being in a disability scooter. It addresses the Uses and Activities section putting a tick in almost all of the boxes, above all a visit is fun and there is a lot to see and if you return there are always new sculptures and many of the old ones are sold and gone, so it’s always fresh active and vital. In terms of comfort and image, it is again all of the suggested things especially if you are able-bodied. The place is accessible and has ample parking. It seems to me to be what the wheel would call a great place.
Could I have done better, the answer is yes, I would like to have had more time and done more research and found somewhere I could demonstrate this principle in a better way where more of it was accessible to me. It occurred to me as I was writing all of this up that a theme park may have been a great place to base this assignment on. For now, I am mostly happy that the work tells the right story and is far better for the re-shoot.
Here are the contact pages from the reshoot, I too 613 images on the day and did a first edit to 296 eliminating the bad and the out of focus images. This set of contacts represents the first starting point for my edit.
Last time I went to the sculpture park I got very wrapped up in the sculptures and spent a lot of time photographing them in a way that showcased sculptures and not the park. This time I wanted to concentrate on the park rather than individual sculptures. I loaded up my camera bag and took my wide-angle lens as well as my wide through mid lens, and my plan was not to tip the camera into portrait and to take much wider shots.
As has been documented, I hired a mobility scooter for the trip and took my gear into the park. The whole shoot was rather eventful, the park is not at all wheelchair friendly and the scooter got bogged down in the mud several times, I spent almost as much time fending off the mud and digging myself out of a wheel spinning hole as shooting images.
I only had a tiny part of the park that I could shoot with the scooter so the whole event was limited, they state on their website that it is not a wheelchair friendly place.
The second part of this was that I went on Christmas Eve, see my earlier rant on the weather, time pressure dictated the date of the visit as I had to shoot all of A5 and complete this A3 reshoot so my hands were tied, this meant that I was in the park with only two other groups of people after all who goes to a sculpture park in the middle of nowhere on Christmas Eve with a two-hour weather window? Have you noticed how bad the accuracy of the weather apps on your phone are, well on this day it was accurate to the minute I got back to the car and loaded the scooter just at the time the app said it would rain and as I reversed out of the car park it hammered down.
The point of that last part was that I could not shoot images with lots of people making the space a place, I did get a couple with people in but it remains to see if they make the edit or not.
Farnham Sculpture park is a part of the wooded area with a couple of lakes that have been turned into a gallery for sculptors and like all art galleries, people come to visit to enjoy the art, the primary purpose of the place is to sell sculptures and they have a significant international reputation with sculptures coming in from all over the world and being sold on to all corners of the globe. The dragon in the outset above was made in the Philipines and sold in Singapore. I believe that this location more than qualifies as a space that has been transformed into a place and since I have now visited several times, I feel a familiarity with the layout and location that make it much more of a place.
When we consider the landscape, there are many different types of place or space. Some are towns and cities; some are the countryside, some are industrial, some spaces are just wasteland, and sometimes a space gets a twist that makes it somewhere special.
I can remember as a child there was a space in the old lane behind our house that was part of a former drainage stream it was overgrown and no one went in there. As children, we explored this space and made a camp in there, and we even built a treehouse in one of the trees with the help of my Dad. To say this space became a place is not a difficult thing to do. The time spent in this space transformed it into a very special place that I am still fond of almost 50 years later.
If as a child I could make a space a place by spending time and developing it in my own way, what influence does an organisation like Disney have on a space when they build a theme park. Indeed any development that attracts people can transform a space into a place. From the big attractions to a simple nature trail something about the lure of people into a space tends to create a place. This is my opinion so is there any research that corroborates my opinion?
I found this diagram in a post on HASTA, the history of art magazine affiliated with the University of St Andrews’ School of Art History. By following the link, I discovered its origin on The Project for Public Spaces.
The PPS states:
Great public spaces are those places where celebrations are held, social and economic exchanges occur, friends run into each other, and cultures mix. They are the “front porches” of our public institutions – libraries, field houses, schools – where we interact with each other and government. When these spaces work well, they serve as the stage for our public lives.
The model looks for Sociability, Uses and Activity, Comfort and Image and Access and Linkages. At Disney World, all of these are very carefully catered for and one imagines they have teams of people creatively addressing each point with scientific precision, My camp addressed all of these points but more crudely.
Based on this does that mean that any place that has been developed or adapted to entice visitors qualifies as a space that becomes a place? I assume its is not until you actually visit or is the publicity enough?
Why the title, well for most people the following would be a piece of cake:
“We discussed the images by Yann Arthus Bertrand, specifically the shots where the
horse, landscape, backdrop and lights have been included; although it would be
quite challenging, consider transforming the sculptures, by adding a backdrop and
lighting and shooting in the same style.”
I fully get it and Russell is right. However, the following factors exist:
- Bad Weather
- Very Bad legs preventing walking
- Very short time frame due to my extension
I have really struggled to do something about this assignment as going back to the sculpture park is extremely difficult at the moment, I suffered a nasty case of cellulitis and my walking is terrible at the moment not helped at all by a change in insulin causing a massive weight gain. The good news is I am actively working to address all the health issues and am confident that next year I will be a lot fitter again.
The downside is that in the short term, the work proposed by Russell is next to impossible for me. Couple this with the fact that I was granted an extension to Landscape because of the health issues I only have until the 31st of December to complete this work.
My solution is to hire a disabled scooter and visit the sculpture park to reshoot these images. This is not as good as being fit and shooting the way I initially did as the bulk of the park is not accessible by scooter and I will be limited to the access paths and a smaller group of the sculptures.
The second problem has been that the weather has been atrocious and there has not been a window that will allow me to enact this plan. I had to wait until Christmas Eve for a weather window and a day when the shop mobility centre had a scooter to rent for the day.
I picked up the scooter the day before when the sculpture park was not open and visited at 10 am when they opened on Christmas Eve. I struggled to get the scooter out at the park and undertook the hairiest ride of my life getting stuck in mud and wheel spinning all around the sculpture park. I finished and came home covered in mud and exhausted with almost 800 images in the can. The job now was to edit it down into a meaningful series but first I will describe in more detail the research that sent me there in the first place as I did not do that very well for the initial submission.
Farnham Sculpture Park
This park is set in ten acres of land around three large lakes, it is a space that houses a stunning arboretum and wildlife inhabited water gardens. The owners have distributed over 650 works of art throughout the space that have been made either by the resident artists or by the many contributing artists around the world.
The primary aim of the site is to sell works of art to collectors, however a kind of sub culture has grown out of this, as most of the visitors either can’t afford or don’t have space to house some of the epic works of art, some of which are on a really grand scale. These people come and pay the entrance fee just to look on the sculptures in much the same way people would visit one of the big galleries in London where the works of art are not usually for sale.
What has emerged is a Place where you can wander through the landscape enjoying the art and spending a great day out among the tree’s sculptures and art.
This seems to me to be the exact transformation from a space to a place that this assignment is looking for. I spent a long time wandering around the site taking pictures and enjoying the art. I ended up with several hundred images that I had to edit down to the ten displayed here, which I hope to convey a sense of this great place.
The first image is situated close to the entrance of the park and hides a sign, welcoming visitors to the park. When entering the park, it is from the road and parking is opposite behind the pub. The site is navigated by a series of winding paths that regularly branch off through the tree canopy.
The sculptures are placed randomly along the trails and often a spur or blind walkway will take you up to a different group. I felt that It would be impossible to see every exhibit on one visit and that there are probably pockets of art I completely missed not knowing they were there, this all adds to the notion that you are exploring and coming across treasures throughout your visit.
The dragon on the gazebo was stunning, it took my breath away with its sheer size, one of the staff told me that it was made somewhere in the depths of Asia, though I do not know exactly where and it was transported with its gazebo which comes with it for a cool £150K. The image of the sculptor is included to add to the idea that this is a place of creation not just display and at different times it is possible to watch these skilled individuals creating their art, which looked to be a very slow and painful process.
Not all the art in this place was to my taste but then it would be a strange world if it were I can confirm that this place made a mark on me and left a series of memories that have without doubt transformed this space into a place for me.
Looking at Assignment 3
I have already speculated that Spaces become Places when they take on a use, or when we use them for something specific, the use of a place casts it into our memory and there is a transformation from space to place.
The idea that Parks and recreation area become a place either because they are built on a space or because in playing there we build memories took me on a search for such places. During the research for exercise 3.5 I keeptfinding reference to the sculpture park in Farnham. I havd been there in the past and had some fond memories of teh place. This seemed to me to be a place that fit the bill for assignment three.
The park is a place that is sited within ten acres of stunning arboretum and wildlife inhabited water gardens which have been developed with a series of landscaping projects and the introduction of thousands of new plants, bulbs and specimen trees. Infused throughtthis are over 650 works of art.