As I hurtled down the M1 motorway last week one eye was safely on the road ahead but the other was firmly fixed on the typically changeable English weather. No, I haven’t skipped a few years of evolution developing independent ocular control – today was another assignment for Yorkshire Sculpture Park: shooting photographs for a heritage leaflet, but with a twist.
The brief for this assignment: take photographs of sixteen unique heritage locations dotted about Bretton Country Park, where the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is based. Things like bridges, buildings, a church and art installations.
The finished photographs would be used in a heritage treasure trail leaflet, which will be given to visitors for them to walk around the park with as they try and find the different buildings and features pictured.
All is not what it seems though: with it being a treasure trail, the photographs had to be ‘visual clues’ rather than obvious depictions of the subject. This called for a little creative flair.
To rise to the challenge I had to use pretty much every photographic technique I’d learnt to date, things like:
- Depth of field: controlling which parts of the subject were in focus using aperture creatively
- Strobist-type lighting: using mobile strobes (flash guns) to control the contrast between light and dark objects
- Devious angles: composition is everything, so I found myself getting nice and grubby lying on the ground, in flower beds and sheep dung
The photographs are being handed over for inclusion and publication in the leaflet after a period of two weeks hard work, about fifteen hours work and over eight hundred photographs to sift through. It was great fun to be up to my elbows in an exciting job like this though, with an enormous amount of creative freedom and a great brief.
On top of all this, it’ll be great to see my work published by a leading national art organisation and disseminated in such an accessible way to the public as they roam around the park having a fun day out in the sunshine. I hope I have been cunning enough to make them think, but not get them lost.