October 31, 2011
For those of you not in the know, each year Newport students are challenged by ‘The Grid’, a project which starts with your hand drawing a section of map out of a photocopying box. The original scrap of paper is a photocopy from the A – Z, but in the days of Google Maps, it’s much more fun to see this:
Just to the North East of Newport, the area of Langstone/Llanwern/Underwood is mostly rural. It includes areas of ‘estate’ housing, a couple of farms, at least four churches, three pubs, a couple of golf courses and some riding stables. It’s not at first glance particularly exciting…
Although some of my classmates drew businesses out of the box, I was glad to get the map, and I was also glad to get one that included so much GREEN SPACE.
My initial exploration was car based. I drove around the roads and lanes which made up my grid, stopping occasionally to photograph whatever took my interest. I didn’t spend any time trying to get the exposures ‘right’ on my camera, so slapped wrists for me, but simply wanted to document in a basic form what was ‘there’.
Highlights of a damp day included:
The real highlight was meeting the lovely Barbara (no photographic evidence exists of this I am afraid) and Richard in the level-crossing box… Each told me a couple of very interesting things about the area which might develop into a project.
Day two of my exploring saw me walking in the area around Llanwern Park Farm and woods…
‘The big house’ is no longer there… A story definitely to be explored further (I am very excited about this!)
Richard told me that he had read somewhere about a bishop’s palace in the area years ago… Could ‘Monk’s Ditch’ be anything to do with this?
The next stage is to do bits of internet and library based research. I want to find out more about this bishop’s palace, ‘the old contemptibles’ and about Lord Rhondda and his house which is no longer there… More on this story later!
October 28, 2011
For almost two years, my photography life has sort of been on hold. I had never imagined that I could ever stop seeing the world around me, but this is sort of what happened. I could look, but not see. Look, but not lift the camera to my eyes and capture anything beyond holiday experiences and pretty shapes. Not that there is anything wrong with this (I have some fab holiday shots) but the connection between myself and the world through my camera was frayed to almost breaking point.
Thanks to the love of a good man and the gift of a wee G-11, I began to have a bit of fun with a lens and eventually I started to get back to the place where I wanted to make pictures again. It’s felt at times as though I have been in a decompression chamber after a particularly arduous dive: the return up to the surface has needed to be slow so that my lungs would not burst. And now I am coming up through the tight emulsion surface of the water and can breathe again…
So, I am now back at Newport. And it feels GOOD. Things have changed both inside me and within the Faculty and the future is very exciting for both…
So, if you are interested in watching me flounder and hopefully grow – keep an eye on this space.