Documentary Experimental Images

For my Documentary Piece I wanted to shoot a series of photos in abandoned places, I went to an abandoned hospital in the middle of Northampton. I’m happy with the pictures I got but they are not the type of documentary photos I wanted to get as the document the spaces that were visited, when I shoot the final images I want to follow the people that go to these places. I also feel that the photos aren’t very consistent as one is in black and white and the others aren’t, when I shoot the final images I want to shoot them in high contrast Black and White like photographer Thomas Joshua Cooper. DSC_0039DSC_0033DSC_0015DSC_0038bw


Architecture Final Images

For my architecture final images I took inspiration from American landscape photographer Mike Robinson, more specifically his series on abandoned buildings, I like the way Robinson captures the beauty of these structures that would normally be considered ugly by using simple photography techniques. I tried to replicate this technique but by using high contrast black and white, which I feel works well with the industrial style victorian buildings.

These were taken in Berrywood asylum, a now abandoned victorian asylum built during the industrial revolution which gives it a unique architecture style which contrast the newly developed surrounding area full of modern buildings. I thought that high contrast black and white would work well for these images as it not only gives them a creepy feel but also pays homage to how these were originally shot during the first area of photography. I did also shoot these on film and I wish the could have been presented on film but unfortunately when I was winding the film back in something when wrong and when I opened the back of the camera the whole roll was exposed. I think if i could have sorted the film out it would have really suited these images and made them complete.







Documentary Artist Research

Larry Burrows was an English photojournalist who was best known for his photos of the Vietnam war. Burrows was born in 1926 and became a photographer at the age of sixteen where he got a job at Life magazine. His biggest assignment for them was covering the vietnam war, he worked on this from 1962 until his death in 1971 when his helicopter was shot down in Laos.


My favourite piece or work that Burrows produced was ‘One Ride with Yankee Papa 13,’ this series really shows Burrow’s unique style of working as even though there was a whole war going on around him he only focused on one thing, in this series is was following Lance Cpl. James Farley through one mission. I love the way that Burrows captures all the emotion felt by one man which makes it very relatable to the viewer.


The way these images are taken also baffles me as they really highlight Burrow’s talent, for example the image above was taken with a camera mounted to the end of a M60 machine gun. It’s things like these that really make Burrow’s work stand out from other generic vietnam images.


I love Burrow’s style of following certain small things in big situations and I hope i can replicate this in my own work


Thomas Joshua Cooper is an American Landscape photographer born in 1946 who currently lives in Glasgow. His work ‘Between Dark and Dark’ is a series of high contrast black and white photographs taken throughout England Documenting myths and rituals of the land and those who inhabit it. I like Cooper’s style of shooting as it is something I would like to include in my own work but I don’t really like the subject of his work as it seems too much like art that documenting the spaces he visits.


Architecture Artist Research

Mike Robinson is an American Landscape photographer based in Wyoming, he travels around the America documenting natural landscapes. However he also documents abandoned farm buildings, and this is the body of work I like the most.


Robinson’s series on abandoned buildings is his best not only technically but artistically. He shoots all these images in the same way and edits them using black and white, I also believe he uses the High Dynamic Range technique in which he takes three photos at different exposures and combines them to give the desired effect of the image. I love the way Robinson makes these old run down buildings look beautiful using simple techniques instead of spending hours in photoshop.


I hope to incorporate Robinson techniques in my own work however I want to make my images even simpler than Robinson’s by only using high contrast black and white to make the derelict buildings look beautiful.




Architecture statement of intent

For my series of Architecture photographs I aim to shoot a series of images of old derelict buildings that most would consider ugly but using simple black and white high contrast images make them look beautiful. I will take inspiration from the work of  Mike Robinson an American landscape photographer.


Still Life Developed Images

For my Final images of the project I decided to stick with my original idea of having the shoes look like they’re floating but I felt like something needed to be added to them to make them really stand out. I’ve worked with Gel lighting before but never when doing product images, I thought that they would work well with the shoes I shot before because the colour from the Gel would work well with the white patches of the shoe.


When I used Gels before it has always been with a large object such a model, so it was challenging to have a small object it comparison. These images were technically difficult to shoot as there was so many aspects to get right, I had to first hang the shoe from a light stand, I then had the set the lighting up in a way that was best fit the size and shape of the shoe, I finally had to balance the light in a way that the lights wouldn’t overpower each other. I had the red light directly below the shoes and the blue light directly above, this gives deep colourful shadows you can see on the shoe.


The most challenging part was editing the background of each images to become even, the shoe was shot too far away from the back of the studio paper so each shot had a different amount of light on the back of the paper. I decided to completely edit the background to become grey as it contrast the colours used in the gels perfectly.


To give the shoe the appearance that it is floating I hung it from a light stand above the lights using fishing wire, I thought fishing wire would work well as it see through but it gave off a flare from the lights so I had to completely remove it in Photoshop using the stamp tool. Once I removed the wire it gave a small blurry line across the background so I added some noise and that fixed the problem.


If I was to shoot these images again I would defiantly shoot them on a black background, as the editing I have done to background is slightly different across all the images.

A trip to ST Crispins Asylum (Documentary Piece)

I had a chance to follow a group of urban explorers on a trip to an abandoned mental institution called ST Crispins in Northampton, the asylum it’s self was built in 1876 and was closed in 1995 but is a hotspot for graffiti artists and urban explorers alike. The buildings are currently under renovation so it appears that the majority of the asylum will soon be inaccessible.IMG_1411

My bags contents just before setting off

As the three of us approached the building we could see fences all around the perimeter with the majority covered in barbed wire but eventually after circling the fence we found a small gap between the fences that had been damaged so we decided this would be the entry point.


L and T searching for an entry point

Entering the complex through the gap in the fence

Once through the fence we decided to circle the exterior of the buildings to see if we were the only ones about and it appeared that we were.


L and T searching the exterior of the building

The first building we decided to enter was a small projector room and the back of the main hall, we found two battered but original Kalee model eleven projectors. From this room we could see (through a small window) the fire damaged section of the complex.

(Left) The projection room (Right) one of the two Kalee model eleven projectors

We then decided to head to the main hall which we could see was heavily damaged in a fire.


L and T examining the exterior of the main hall

Once we entered this section of the complex we could see that it was a lot more open than the rest of the buildings, although we were a lot more courteous around this section of the complex as the floors and walls were propped up in places. The first thing we saw was the courtyard that separated the main hall from the clock tower. Following this we entered what appear to be a shower block (due to tiled walls and floors.) There was a lot of graffiti in this section as well as holes to see the rest of the complex.


L and T enter the courtyard


The courtyard separating the two buildings showing clear traces people had been here


L and T examine the shower block


A view of the clock tower through fire damage in the roof


External view from the shower block


Graffiti left on the walls

We then travelled across the courtyard and into the shell of the main hall, it was evident that this was the most vulnerable part of the complex as the walls and room were only held in place by scaffolding.

The Main-hall showing evident structural damage


L and T stop for photos

We then left the main hall and headed for one of the wards. It was apparent that this block had been heavily stripped as the floor was no longer there and their was huge holes in the actual structure.


‘You will die here’


L checks for signs of life


L and T check the corridor


Huge damage to the ward

We then checked the other ward which in a much better condition, although it was very dark. This is where I decided to get some experiment images using flash, long exposures etc.


Reflection of the Clock tower in a puddle


A view of how dark the ward was (Flash was used)


L (left) and T (right) while in the ward





L watches over our equipment while T and I take photos

Two images of T taken in the ward

We were contemplating leaving when I stumbled across a stairway, after some discussion we decided to head up to the second floor. This was much brighter then the lower floor and we could see everything much better.


The view from an open hole on the second floor


Graffiti on a second floor wall

After exploring the second floor we decide to leave as it had started to get dark. We wanted to clear all the floors but the time and weather was not on our side.



L and T leave through the hole in the fence

All words and images by Jay Kelly