As my practice evolves, earlier work based around documentary photography can be found here in my archive; listed chronologically – top down.
Documentary Photography Projects
‘This is Culture’
In this documentary photography project done as part of a residency at Southampton Solent University I spent time photographing Southampton’s new Cultural Quarter which is a designated area for the promotion of cultural activity within the city’s centre. Southampton City Council in partnership with Southampton Cultural Quarter Development Trust have identified 13 sites spread across an area from East Park Terrace, including East Park, Above Bar and Guildhall Square; stopping at Havelock Road and continuing down Commercial Road. The venues include art galleries, a park, library, theatre, a concert venue, a bar, open space, a university building and a council office building.
Cultural quarter initiatives have been adopted in many countries to encourage urban social and economic regeneration. The rationale is that ‘consuming’ culture encourages social cohesion and thus strengthens local communities. Areas with ‘culture’ also become attractive places to live, work and visit. Even so, some members of society remain excluded from participation.
Exploring the area, there are approximately 41 sites of many different types, including the 13 identified by the Trust that can reasonably be said to demonstrate culture. This photographic documentation of the Cultural Quarter shows them all and resolves the 41 venues into 13 locales.
Many fire and rescue operatives are ex-armed forces and appreciate the camaraderie, having joined to make a difference in their community.
The service has experienced funding cuts of 30% during the course of the last parliament (2011-2015), which equates to one in eight fire-fighter jobs gone as well as stations, appliances and equipment. Another 40% are being planned. The rural location in which I live sometimes cannot send out its appliance as there are not enough personnel to man it. So teams from the next nearest town will respond. The fire service costs each of us £50 per year.
Whilst the number of fires attended has gone down in recent years, they are increasingly being called to other types of incident. Such as floods and road traffic collisions.
The service is increasingly using ‘on call’ operatives that live and work within 5 minutes of their Fire & Rescue Station. They can be on call for up to 100 hours a week. These on call fire & rescue personnel receive about £1.20 per hour for being on call.
They will be expected to work until they are 60 however a report recognises 66% will not meet the current fitness standard. This means that many may have to leave with a pension reduced by 20% or face dismissal.
Before starting work with the Fire & Rescue Service recruits undertake an intensive training programme. This is designed to equip them with the skills they need before attending incidents. This is a documentary photography insight into that journey.
2014 / 15
This documentary photography is an insight into the role of some of the people at Hargreaves iron foundry.
Iron is an element. To make castings with it, two additional compounds are required to aid the process; coke and limestone.
Hargreaves has been making iron castings for over 130 years in Halifax, which was traditionally a tool making town. The process used now would still be recognisable to the Victorians.
“In the UK manufacturing was the most dominant industry in 1841 accounting for 36% of the workforce, followed closely by services at 33%. The expansion of services and decline in manufacturing meant that in 2011, 9% worked in manufacturing and 81% worked in services.” (Office for National Statistics)
They are what are known as a ‘jobbing foundry’ meaning they take on higher value large and small commissions of low volume or one off pieces. The job requires high levels of skill and there is a sense of pride in the castings they make. They work as a team, mindful of dangers to themselves and workmates, with the camaraderie extending beyond the ‘job’.
Despite previous downwards trend nationally – manufacturing is increasing, here and perhaps unsurprisingly, internationally. The sector is 10% of UK economy and contributes approximately £340 billion in sales.
In 2011 a planning permission was granted for demolition. However the Improvement Act of 1854 to 1871 commanded the holding of a livestock market within the boundaries of the town. However in January 2012 the Welsh government repealed the act effective from March 2012.
This documentary photography series shows Monmouthshires Abergavenny livestock market in its town centre location. Which is where it has been since 1863 and subsequently became the last town centre livestock market in the country. The busiest day was Tuesdays, with additional sale days on Fridays. The market closed the site in December 2013.
Due its proximity the town centre was thriving on market days, bringing trade to the other businesses in the town. One of the markets attendees aged 91, had visited weekly for 80 years. Some would like to have seen the site refurbished, rather than moved out of town to a new site at Bryngwyn.
At the time of writing this (March 2016) the area is still waiting for Morrisons to complete the purchase of the site for a new supermarket and library.