It’s been two weeks since I finally finished all of my work for the first module of my BA Hons Degree in Photography at the University Of Wolverhampton and I’m about to share what I submitted for each of the four sub-modules; Colour Film Photography, Black and White Film Photography, Digital Photography and Studio Photography.
I’ll share the submitted works in the order we completed them throughout a number of workshops for each. The first being Colour Film Photography.
The brief for Colour Photography was ” The Colour Of Change” so I went out with a 35mm film camera for the first time since my little Canon Sureshot Max film camera was a modern thing and I was doing usual family photos and holiday snaps. This time I started with the University provided loan camera, a Nikon FM2 and then progressed into using a newly acquired Canon A1, finishing up with an additional Bronica ETRS (645) Medium Format camera.
Users of the Multi-Storey Car Park in Ravens Meadow, Shrewsbury don’t always see what is in their view. Reflections like this are driven over without notice in the drivers rush to get out into the shops or get out of the car park and return home.
The change in the car park from Dry to Wet and Day to night is something that I’d never noticed before turning my camera towards it. This car park is soon to be demolished so will likely be replaced by some high class flats and penthouse apartments.
These strange views of different paints and puddles will be consigned to memory, memory cards and film.
This image speaks to me in that the arrow leads you into the image and then my eye is drawn to the reflection of the light in the water. Also in the picture is another arrow that’s been worn away or removed as part of a rerouting of traffic in the building, and also the walkway and car parking spaces all segregated by little yellow lines.
The image seems to warn that your direction in life can change at any time, you need to traverse across treacherous stretches in your bid to be the best person you can be but also to take tame to examine reflections of yourself as well as all around you.
Knitting together the Red, Green and Yellow paint are the Barriers that exist to prevent people from travelling an unwanted direction. In this image the floor paint is joined by the yellow painted barriers, black and white parts of the structure and some road cones holding a piece of stretched out barrier tape.
Without all of the barriers to prevent people moving, would they crash more? Can people be trusted? Obviously not if the level of guiding directions and fences are anything to go by.
Much of this “furniture” is covered and obscured by the cars and vehicles in the daylight hours so can be seen clearly and unfettered after dark.
To me this image is a reminder of all of the obstructions that we’ll be faced with throughout the course of our lives, along with a few pointers and helpful signs. A bit like the old game of my childhood “Snakes & Ladders” (“Chutes and Ladders” outside the UK) life is a big game where one minute you’re bounding along rolling sixes, following arrows and finding some hidden stairs until you’ve landed on a Snake or Down Ramp in the Car Park of Life.
This next image seems to me to be a runway inside a Bond villain’s lair that leads to the open air or outer space. The issue with this view is that unless you stray off the red, marked out footpath you would never notice the fluorescent tube reflections in the puddles.
Bearing in mind there are multiple floors above this one, how does it get quite so wet? Another metaphor perhaps? Perhaps events happening on the outside seep in through the cracks and fissures in our defences to start rotting at the core of the structure. Blimey, that one was a bit dark, but I suppose taking time out to dry up the tears that occur in these inner parts helps keep our inside dry and prepared for the next storm
The darker shadowy greens on the left make this image feel moodier and brooding, like something from a graphic novel. The black bottomed Vs and steel roof girders in this image could be taken as the ribcage of the building holding out the chest against all manner of attacks.
Another barrier themed image to show that there is a danger in their presence. The reflection of the cones appears to suggest that the puddle is affecting everything above the concrete and also within and underneath. These particular cones seem to be blocking motorists from driving through the large puddle that’s formed, but cars are usually waterproof so why are the staff afraid of vehicles splashing through this part, is there a weakness in the concrete structure? Is it polluted water with acid in it so it’s to prevent your paint being spoiled?
Probably not any of these, more likely that people are using this route to cut around the busiest traffic build ups and the speeding “rat run” is a danger to pedestrians making their way to the pay stations. The white concrete parts of the structure in the background of the image also appear to be damp and covered in moss or mould of some sort. Maybe the car park can see it’s demise coming and is shutting down it’s extremities to keep it’s core in a good state.
This is one of my earliest images made with the Canon A1 and a roll of Kodak Portra 400, the camera was sat atop my tripod under the shelter of an umbrella whilst I struggled to set up the shot. The subject of the photo is the shelter on the penultimate floor of the multi storey car park. This covers the two entrances to lifts on this floor that lead drivers and passengers alike to the shops a few levels below. This night, there were no shoppers around and the rain made the light appear like bioluminescence from a creature atop this structure.
One of the most liked images I made in the first year, by coursemates and lecturers, this scanned image of the 10×8 print does it no favours.
In the day time the structure appears as though a shoddy lean-to greenhouse, but at night, in the dark and damp it seems to morph into a beacon of safety, a light of hope that you’ll soon be safe and dry on the way down four levels to the shopping centre.
This image is the most prominent in the set of five as being related to Change. The light in the image would not usually be observed like this as users of the car park would most likely park in the dry of the lower levels and only see this vista on a dry day when it’s not as emotive as it is in the image I made.
Putting the image aside for the aesthetic way it pleases me for a moment, the car park is soon to be demolished if the local council have their way and move forward with a new Plan For Shrewsbury that would see this area be changed into a riverside set of shops and apartments as well as a leisure complex. Considering how many hours I spent in this building on my bike as a child, or in my car as an adult and the few hours (probably more than is healthy) I’ve never noticed until recently just how important this structure is to the town, the people and the traffic.
The poem below was written whilst considering the changes that are unseen to the normal shopper but are seen by people experiencing their surroundings with heightened perception. Having a camera with a film really creates this alternative view of the surroundings.
Sometimes a poem is easier for me to write than arty language.
Multi – Stories
Thirteen levels of grey,
Outlined by yellow strokes.
Limiting blocks of red and green,
Drivers glance but hardly see.
Intricate guides efficiently designed.
Barriers, fences, cones and walls,
Knit concrete walls to floor.
Numbers, arrows, verbose signs,
Immediately essential but soon forgotten.
Rain seeps downwards through floors,
Birthing puddles and driplets.
Argon, xenon, neon, krypton, and mercury,
Reflect in the liquid floor mirrors.
Shoppers in the warm light of day,
Miss the shadows, graffiti and urine of darkness.
Bob Griffiths 2022