My initial ideas for the final major project this year were to either shoot a series of commercial images using illusions or to shoot a documentary series of images along with a editorial piece explaining what urban explorers are and what they shoot. In the end I decided to go with the documentary piece, I did this for a number of reasons the main one being that I felt it was a lot different to anything anyone else had done.
I started researching specifically what I wanted to shoot, I did this by researching multiple photographers and what they shoot, there were multiple photographers that I researched but the main ones that influenced me were Antonio Jaggie, Elle Dunn and Danila Tkachenko. I tried to add elements from all these photographers together to create my ideal series of images, from Jaggie I liked the modern documentary style his images have they really tell a story but the scenery within them is stunning. Tkachenko’s images are all beautifully composed and shot on black and white film this helps the objects in the foreground blend in seamlessly with the snow in the background giving the images a surreal yet beautiful look. I like the rare use of people in Dunn’s work, they never seem out of place even though the rest of her pictures never feature human life, I also like the anonymity of the people that are in her photos and I think I captured this in my own work.
When it came to the written piece of my FMP I took large inspiration from the journalists and writers of Vice News as well as a lesser known news outlet Seeker Stories. My initial idea was to write a piece like a diary documenting exactly what happened and explaining what was happening in the photos, however after research, experimentation and development this idea changed. The end result is a editorial piece explaining what urban exploration is and why people do it, I think the end result is what I was looking for but i wish it was longed so I could have had a paragraph on each page of my sketchbook.
I am extremely pleased with the final images I have produced, they are a good balance between documenting the people that go the these abandoned places and the spaces within them. I big decision I had to make when choosing the final images was whether to include people or not, in the end I decided to include them as I feel it adds more of a narrative to the images and help the audience connect to them on a person level. I also decided to use a range of different mediums to shoot my images, I feel both film and digital images have special qualities that are appropriate for each image, and I feel that I chose the right images that were shot on the right mediums. Editing also played a large part in the choice of my images as I wanted to keep them as authentic as possible to the documentary style of shooting, while the majority of the images had minor editing a few of them were edited to make them stand out from the rest so they would catch the viewer’s eye and make them think about the space that had been documented.
When it came to choosing how the images would be displayed at the exhibition it was my idea from the start to have a book with the images as well as the editorial piece in it, however after making some trips to each place I started to collect souvenirs to use in the exhibition, these range from a suitcase to some files. I thought this would help the audience to interact with my images and make them stand out from the rest of the other photographers’ images.