When starting this assignment I had two subjects in mind, the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) and Shugborough Hall gardens. I selected Shugborough because it has personal and positive significance. I spent time there as a child and now with my own children this is the reason why Shugborough is a place as opposed to a space.
My original idea was to capture my children playing around in the gardens but have them blurred in motion so:
- a) They could not be identified;
- b) Anyone looking at them would be able to put themselves or someone they know into that place and give a better interaction with the images and;
- c) The blurred out children could be looked upon as ghosts of the past and future.
By creating “ghosts” within the images, my aim was to show popularity of the gardens throughout the generations and how they have retained it.
However, once I started taking photos, I realised that the images weren’t giving the feel I wanted. Although the children blurred gave a “ghost” like feel, they didn’t show any generational divide. I felt that this was an important part of what makes the space a place. I then struck on the idea of using my old photos to create the “ghosts” in my new images. The gardens are full of iconic statuary, landscaped gardens and features which have remained unchanged throughout the years allowing me to easily place the ghosts into the new images to create a hybrid image.
Shugborough is a multifaceted place. There are historical aspects, links with the local communities and it is also an important venue for events. All of which contributes towards transforming a beautiful space into a Place.
In relation to what we have learnt over the course so far, there are a number of ways in which my work relates to the Landscapes module.
- David Bate’s essay on “The memory of Photography”; as I am mixing old images with new ones so the viewer can reminisce (aid to memory as they will think back to their own childhoods) and also give a “guideline” to future users.
- Appropriation as I have used the photos of others to create the ghosts within my images
- The aspects we looked at with regards to local history and researching areas which we would like to photograph to enable us to have a better understanding and knowledge of the area.
In summary, I have found that what defines a place can be very subjective. I chose to approach the subject from an emotional and personal point of view. This enabled me to create a series of images that show Shugborough as a place which people visit and will continue to visit throughout the generations, it is by definition a self-perpetuating Place.