The brief is to use the concept Y Filter Sgwar (The Square Mile) which is the connection with your childhood home to look at your surroundings in a new way, producing a set of six to twelve photographs that illustrate this.
I started in a very literal manner by identifying the square mile around my home. I shifted the area slightly to the south as I rarely go more than two streets to the north. This area includes:
- Some housing, mostly late nineteenth and early twentieth century with some social housing built in the sixties
- A large and well used public park with a burn running though it
- Farmland, mainly arable
- The local shopping zone
- A historic area with an abbey
This is an area I have lived in for 25 years and must have taken thousands of photographs of and I was very aware that I risked simply reproducing these or giving a tourist guide to the best spots.
I walk this area every day with my dog, so I decided to change my standard camera zoom lens to one with a fixed focal length, carry it with me every day and photograph anything that caught my eye. As I did this I realised that there were several possible themes developing:
- Water and its impact on the area – this was especially noticeable as it was a very wet time, with the weather varying from brilliant sunshine, though heavy rain to blizzard conditions
- Close-up nature studies
- Architectural details
- The environmental impact of man and the debris left behind
- The time of year – balanced between winter and spring
I eventually decided to use the last theme as, one day when out walking, we started in brilliant sunshine, then nearly got blown off our feet in a blizzard, which then stopped to leave a mix of sun and snow on the spring flowers. This was a day with extreme weather changes, even for Scotland, but I felt it showed the area in all its moods.
I use a Panasonic micro two thirds camera and for this project I fitted a fixed 45mm focal length lens which equates to a 90mm standard lens. I set the camera to P except for a few images of moving water when I changed to a slow shutter speed.