Second Research Proposal

For this, we were asked to further developed any missing fields of information, add developing research and add a section titled proposal summary & development at the end as a means of highlighting new areas of consideration and how we have applied them since our previous session.

I will just include new elements I consider to be significant within this revision.

Title –

Britain’s Lost Waters: The Ripple Effect (working title)


Still in the process of development, however at this stage it would seem likely that I will need certain licences to photograph more protected sites or more elusive or endangered animals such as the water vole. However, I can access a variety of wildlife licences online through Natural England, which including potential photographic permissions.

Additionally, depending chosen site(s), I might need to contact the relevant institution or owners in advance prior to shoots, for example Martin Mere doesn’t not allow images taken at their sites to be for any commercial purpose, thus purpose discussions in advance might allow for greater creative flexibility. However, it is likely I will be looking for more low key locations.


Proposal Summary & Development

 Since my last session for this module, I have researched a wide variety of environment related news stories from sites such as The Guardian, BBC, The Independent, WWF, The Wildlife Trust, National Geographic and Source magazine. I have also researched the visual work of other relevant practitioners, both professionals and graduates. This includes; Edward Burtynsky, Jem Southam, Nick Brandt, Chris Jordan, Maxwell Law, Craig Jones, Jonathan Higgins, Robin Albrecht and Ben Herron.

This inspired me to focus upon a topic that is both influenced by the contextual examples of pre-existing landscape and wildlife photographers whilst remaining relevant as an ongoing contemporary issue.

In a broad sense, I have narrowed my overall theme to the subject of water – ‘Britain’s Lost Waters: The Ripple Effect.’

Water, or more specifically fresh water is a life source to humanity and almost all other life forms and is sourced through nature. It is essential to our basic survival, our health and mental wellbeing.

“Humans rely on the way ecosystems services control our climate – pollution, water quality, pollination – and we’re finding out that many of these regulating services are degrading,” –  Bob Watson, chief scientific adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and co-chairman of the NEA.

Recently, there has been increase in stories relating to humanities excess water consumption and use, resulting from overpopulation and agricultural development. This is especially relevant due to potential new laws being introduced to the UK water bill which will give authority to private water companies to drain various natural water supplies to facilitate. However, this increasing process is having a massively adverse effect upon British rivers, wetlands and lakes. In particular, the loss of chalk steams, each with a unique eco-systems thus of significant importance in regards to wildlife and almost exclusively native to the UK. This includes insects, water plants, fish, crayfish, birds and mammals such as water vole and otter thus offering a wide range of potential wildlife subjects.

This is isn’t the only issue either, areas such as wetlands help regulate and sustain overall water flow, preventing potential flooding and droughts. At this stage, we have an ever increasing population rate and no sufficient projects in place as means of creating a sustainable water source.

I found this topic was reinforced whilst visiting WWT’s Martin Mere site during their recent bird watching festival. Numerous talks from naturalists, ecologists and photographers certified the significance of wetland areas in the growth and survival of British wildlife. After the final talk of the day from professional travel, landscape and wildlife photographer Maxwell Law, I decided to stay for a one to one discussion, during which Law offered me a useful tip for the location of Kingfishers in Burnley providing I would not disclose it publicly. Kingfishers are often known for frequenting rivers thus are a relevant wildlife subject to this concept. Upon exploring the site itself, I also gained an appreciation for wealth of life that inhabits healthy areas of wetland.

Additionally, I find the subject of water quite compelling as a subject in an aesthetic sense, particularly as I intend to experiment with macro images.

I would like this series to discuss how even one seemingly small change or disturbance can cause other widespread issues such as the attempted domestication and breeding of minks, after they escaped into the wild, this resulted in a critical threat towards water voles, a native species. However, through the protection and/or restoration of potential wildlife sites, there has been a significant increase in otters, which then in turn has restored more of an ecological balance through reducing mink numbers.

The next stage is to start to focus upon potential locations including rivers and wetland areas and consider any issues with public access, photographic permissions etc.


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