So a return to Eastney Point and the notion of sea defences begins to exercise my mind. Portsmouth is ringed by a series of forts, built on the recommendations of the 1860 Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom, after concerns about the strength of the French Navy. Considered of questionable military value they were criticised because by the time they were completed, any threat had passed, and because the technology of the guns had become out-of-date. They were the most costly and extensive system of fixed defences undertaken in Britain in peacetime.
On the foreshore near one of these forts, Fort Cumberland, are a number of additional structures dating from the mid 1920s, collectively known as Fraser Range, which specialised in training naval gunnery personnel. Now derelict, fenced off, and with a surprisingly large hole in the fence…
A defence system, increasingly defenceless, at the mercy of the sea, obsolescence, and the hand of others. So maybe there’s the story that my earlier sortie had failed to unearth.
Portsmouth has been my home town for some 30 years. One of the most densely populated cities in Europe, it is an island (Portsea) within an island (Great Britain). Pompey has the sea coursing through her veins. Maritime history is writ large in the guise of HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson and Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose. Today it remains the home of the Royal Navy as well as being both a commercial and cross-channel ferry port.
Vintage Poster Advertising Southern Electric Railways by Kenneth Shoesmith
The city wears its history with pride, and attracts a considerable number of visitors. Yet even in such a compact city, where certain landmarks loom large, there are still one or two less visited margins that are off the beaten track. Places where the history is neither polished nor themed, but where it is slowly falling into disuse and disrepair. Locations that still after 30 years, keep drawing me back.
Danger….. John Callaway 
And so emerged the plan to go to Eastney Pointand just see what happened…
Below are a few of the first sortie. I think they give something of a sense of the place, and few of my favourite themes were in there: open water: emptiness: rust: graffiti and symbols (locks, ropes and objects that are ambiguous in their use and purpose).
But what was the narrative? I wasn’t unhappy with the photos, but a further visit seemed to beckon…
Channel… John Callaway 
Gone fishing… John Callaway 
Horizon… John Callaway 
Lock… John Callaway 
Zach… John Callaway 
Beach… John Callaway 
Rope… John Callaway 
To see EXIF data, click on each of the images above..
In the photographs of the jetty used in 1.3 (1) , (below) there is a clear line for the viewer to follow which naturally leads them out of the frame. The choice of the jetty was an attempt (of sorts) to provide a metaphor. In the same way as the jetty directs the viewers eye along its structure, so too does the jetty itself mirror the journey from land out to sea.
Jetty. John Callaway 
Langstone Harbour. John Callaway 
The use of the lines informed by the architecture of the forts in 1.3 (2) below seeks to give the sense that the picture is only part of a much bigger whole. Although I clearly had choice over what was contained within each of the photographs , the jetty images were dependent upon me ensuring that the entire seaward end of the structure remained in view. With the brickwork I was able to select aspects of the wall which could form a complete image in their own right, without needing to show the entirety of the fort.
Window. John Callaway 
Downpipe. John Callaway 
There’s always someone watching… John Callaway 
Window to the world. John Callaway 
Cropping vs framing:
Framing is the act of using the parameters of the lens as an indicator of what will appear in the final image. Naturally there are still creative choices to be made by the photographer as they compose the image.
Cropping is the act of removing elements of the photograph which detract from the overall image, in order to strengthen the final image. (The creative choice still rests with the photographer, as final arbiter of the editing process).
Kite. Ijmuiden aan Zee , NL. John Callaway 
Beached… John Callaway 
As an illustration, the two images above are cropped versions of the original photographs (below) taken in response to the brief for 1.3(1). I think that the image of the beach huts is much stronger in the cropped version, although I think the kite flyer on the beach image works equally as well both cropped and un-cropped because of the windblown sand in the foreground.