Assignment 1: Researching photographers

I found myself gravitating towards photographers who took an interest in some of the more ephemeral aspects of landscape. The ‘square mile’ with which we are most familiar may seem permanent. We may walk the same path, see the same shops, pass the same buildings, travel on the bus or train with the same people, and feel that we ‘know’ our square mile. But perhaps this prevents us from noticing the small, imperceptible changes-the fading of the paint on our front door and window, the slow oxidisation of iron railings, the crumbling of brickwork or asphalt, the graffiti marks on the bus shelter.

In his series of photographs ‘Boredom To Burn’, Gawain Bernard (i) reflects upon wildfire burning that takes place each spring in the South Wales Valleys. Although he suggests that the blackened landscape may appear on one level to act as a metaphor for South Wales’s industrial past, the series concentrates upon small remnants left after the burn- a discarded spoon here, a clutch of burned eggs, the charred remains of a plant. The small details within the bigger picture. Looking beyond the obvious…

In his work “Self Burial”, Keith Arnatt reflects upon the ideas of slow disappearance and disintegration, seeking to understand the “ability of photography simultaneously to document what was there and transform it into something quite different… recording his presence at the point where it becomes absence.” (ii)

Self-Burial (Television Interference Project) 1969 by Keith Arnatt 1930-2008

Self-Burial (Television Interference Project) 1969 Keith Arnatt 1930-2008 Presented by Westdeutsches Fernsehen 1973


(i). (2017). Gawain Barnard. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Mar. 2017].

(ii). British Journal of Photography. (2017). Keith Arnatt: the conceptual photographer who influenced a generation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Mar. 2017].

Assignment 1: The Square Mile. Final Selection

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because by the time they were completed, any threat had passed, and because the technology of the guns had become out-of-date.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.

Part I: The Sea

Brickwork... John Callaway [2016]

Brickwork… John Callaway [2016]

Beach... John Callaway [2016]

Beach… John Callaway [2016]

Fence... John Callaway [2016]

Fence… John Callaway [2016]

 Part II: Obsolescence

Broken.... John Callaway [2016]

Broken…. John Callaway [2016]

281.... John Callaway [2016]

281…. John Callaway [2016]

Slow... John Callaway [2016]

Slow… John Callaway [2016]

Part III: The Hands Of Others

Corridor... John Callaway [2016]

Corridor… John Callaway [2016]

Handle This.... John Callaway [2016]

Handle This…. John Callaway [2016]

Fused... John Callaway [2016]

Fused… John Callaway [2016]