To resolve this stage of the module, I have produced a formal presentation about my Research proposal and how this has evolved throughout the duration of this brief and I have started to consider various critical aspects within my intended idea.
This is the rough draft I intend to follow within my presentation –
S2 – Working title – Britain’s lost waters: the ripple effect.
S3 – In my photographic practice, I feel the most creatively motivated by themes relating to the natural world, especially when developing my understanding of humanities impact and connection with nature. I have produced two landscape projects following different methods of exploring the subject of identity and childhood memories and how this encouraged a ‘nostalgic gaze’ upon nature and natural environments. As well as an editorial documentary project based around the narrative of a ‘day at the zoo’ experience at South Lakes Wild Animal Park, focusing upon human and animal interaction. Most recently, a documentary video project based upon the impact of humanity upon the British landscape, in relation to both land use and local wildlife.
S4 – In this, I want to expand further upon the contextual themes and visual approaches I established during my recent video project. I started to document the environmental impact of human development upon the British landscape (agriculture, industry) and in turn, the resulting changes within local ecosystems and their natural inhabitants, as well as this, I began to validate the endurance of natural life forms and wildlife, surviving amongst the fragile remnants of man-made constructs. My new theme relates to the subject of fresh water. Freshwater 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. I would like this series to discuss how even one seemingly small change or disturbance can cause other widespread issues. I want this concept to underpin my project, and in a sense expressing the ripple effect both literally and figuratively.
S5 – To develop research that will further develop and refine my knowledge and understanding of my intended fields of photographic practice. To undertake further research of contemporary environmental/conservational related concepts to ensure this series underpins issues that can still considered to be of current interest and relevant. To consider existing research and undertake new research of national parks, wildlife sites, heritage sites and sites of biological, geological or scientific importance. To acknowledge both practical and creative considerations in undertaking a project of this type and scale – such as time management, site availability, financial needs or any potential restrictions that might influence my overall approach. To consider what audience, organisation or client this series might appeal to and how this may shape the direction of my final outcome.
S6 – Within this project, I intend to consider the concept of freshwater from both sides. This involves the consideration of both people & organisations aiming to protect water based wildlife and preserve eco-systems and as well as government institutions & private companies in their justification for urban development and for increasing water abstraction. For this, I will aim to arrange interviews for both aspects of the narrative – for example, contact individual working an RSPB site or arrange discussion with representative at united utilities. As a result, I will need both model releases forms for potential portraits and a means of accurate data collection during the interviews.
S7 – At this stage it will be likely that I’ll 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 does not allow images taken at their sites to be for any commercial purpose, thus arranging discussions in advance might allow for greater creative flexibility. However, it is likely I will also be looking for more low key locations.
S8 – I need to acquire a new telephoto lens (canon fit), preferably with a max focal length of 300- 400mm. This would allow for greater range and potential for wildlife shots such as animal portraits, motion shots etc. In addition, I would need access to equipment from university, in particular, a macro lens (canon fit) for close ups and flexible shots of smaller subjects. In addition, the use of a wide angled lens could also prove to be quite constructive in producing large format landscape images. If possible, it might be helpful to consider a wildlife photography workshop to further refine my knowledge and approach when working with wildlife. I have noted that the WWT offer environmental/wildlife photography workshops with guest photographers.
S9 – During my research, I found an article featured within Architecture & Design magazine earlier this year, featuring a review of Edward Burtynsky’s latest work, water. This series focuses upon water deficiency, using large scale aerial images and video from across the world to reinforce the nature of water, its vulnerability, capability, and power and how it is used.
S10- This is a reference which was discussed during a feedback session relating to a series of wildlife images by photographer Chris Jordan that highlight the issues related to waste disposal, consumerism and consumption and how this has negatively impacted the feeding behaviours of various wildlife, particularly birds, often causing in the death of their young. His bold and almost grotesque images reinforce the significance of mass consumption and human development in the disruption and demise of elements within the natural world.
S11 – I recently discovered a photo gallery upon National Geographic’s website that highlights images of threatened freshwater environments across the world. These images range from freshwater areas upon the outskirts of urban areas or previous wetland areas that have dried out or are suffering from drought due to heavy water drainage to sustain the demand for water as well as agricultural and urban development both related to increasing population .
S12 – This is an article featured within the Observer that discusses the scarcity of water and the how UK governmental policies regarding water need to change otherwise we will suffer further losses of wetland habitats and eco-systems that are needed to maintain the natural balance that regulates healthy water flow to connecting rivers, preventing potential droughts and flooding. “Around two-thirds of our rivers are failing ecosystems. Much of the cause for this shaming statistic is over-abstraction. We suck aquifers dry to provide cheaper water for an increasing population in the south and east of England.”- Richard Benyon
S13 – This is an article featured within the Guardian that emphasises environmental issues that will result if the latest changes to the UK water bill are pushed through, focusing in particular upon the river Pang and its resident water voles, source of the inspiration for the Wind in the Willows. The water bill would allow private licence owners to sell drained water from our exhausted British rivers to water companies for both financial purposes and as an attempt to supply our ever increasing demand for water which is turn compromising various wetland areas. “Currently, 30bn litres a day are taken from rivers, 10% more than is ecologically sustainable, but licences exist for a further 50bn litres a day.” – Damian Carrington. “In the future, population growth, climate change and economic development are likely to increase pressure for more water to be abstracted. As a result, unless we all act now, further environmental damage may occur.“ – Environment Agency.
S14 – Within my research, I also found that Wildlife & countryside link, environmental organisation has listed a blue print for water, listing 10 steps to sustainable water by 2015. 10 steps to sustainable water by 2015. Waste less water, Keep our rivers flowing and wetlands wet, Price water fairly, Make polluters pay, Stop pollutants contaminating our water, Keep sewage out of homes and rivers and off beaches, Support water-friendly farming, Slow, manage and clean drainage from roads and buildings, Protect and restore catchments from source to sea and Retain water on floodplains and wetlands.
S15 – My first reference of image experimentation was during my visit to WWT Martin Mere. During which I intended a series of talks and workshops, as well exploring and documenting some of site and its resident wildlife. Due to borrowing a faulty telephoto lens, I felt that my potential was limited, however, this offered a lesson in practically in preparation for future shoots. I persevered to produce a selection of images of landscapes and wetland wildlife. This is a process I intend to follow again prior to my final major project, however this will expand further towards other fresh water sources. I have started to consider potential rivers, chalk streams and significant wetland areas and estuaries for more marine based concepts relating to water consumption and pollution.
S16 – I intend to contact relevant organisations – WWT, EA, United Utilities, River Trust, RSPB, Wildlife Trust, Wildlife and Countryside Link. I also want to visit Broughton Clough wetland, as I was contacted by someone via my blog and asked to conduct research of this location as well the broader Manchester area to promote environmental awareness, she mentions in particular an increasing threat from flytippers and an encroaching football stadium. I also intend to start experimenting with images soon and visiting relevant sites, some of which I will refer to next.
S17 – As a starting point for my consideration of relevant location, I began to track numerous connections/crossing between tributaries, estuaries, reservoirs and wetlands. I want this to act as means of generating a potential narrative structure or flow. This includes: River Mersey – Mersey Estuary, New Years Bridge Reservoir, Wirral Peninsula, Manchester Ship Canal, Seaforth Dock. River Dee – Dee Estuary, Burton Mere Wetlands, River Alyn, Alwen Reservoir, Connah’s Quay. I also found an article featured upon the Wildlife Trust website and refers to a recommended marine conservation zone, Aln Estuary in Alnmouth which is currently under threat and is one the of nearest marine focused sites to visit.