The feedback from my tutor was generally favourable but with guidance to have a stronger alignment to my ‘close up’ theme of steam preservation. She also spotted that there were a number of circular shapes in the images I initially presented which added cohesion to the set. although they are not present in all. So, that gave me two angles to work with in an attempt to build on my initial efforts.
My first set attempted to build a narrative, or at least a temporal sequence, that followed the progression of stages of preservation, although I think it would take the experienced eye of a steam enthusiast to recognise this as the intention from a series of close ups. This was why I fell into the trap the first time of making a rather obvious attempt to lead the viewer with a couple of images which were taken from too far away. I have decided to abandon those and have the confidence to use close ups throughout. I have also replaced two other images with later shots which I specifically sought out to try and make the image set a stronger offering.
Finally, I decide to remove the captions from the photos and leave interpretation in the hands of the viewer rather than trying to steer their understanding.
The replacement images are shown below. The first replaces the shot of the derelict engine, and although it still shows the same rusted hulk, has focused in on the close detail.
The second photograph is a crop of an image from the first set and here I have tried to remove the emphasis from the painter and place it on the actual painting, which is, after all, what I want to show as a key step in the preservation process. I kept the face just in shot as I think this adds to the personality of the image and gives it context, but the hand and painted number is what it’s all about.
The next photograph is a new image and was specifically taken as a replacement for the shot of the plans in my initial set. It was deliberately lit to pick out the central screw, which was also emphasised by the shallow depth of field I used.
The stopcocks were a new addition and I thought engaging and intriguing shapes with a tough of ambiguity which could have been just about anything requiring the regulation of flow.
The final new photograph is a finished piece of boilerplate and is actually what the screws in the earlier image turn into once the square caps have been twisted off and the remaining screw head tooled down. The sharpness of the detail and the shine of this newly worked piece of metal was startling to look at (it’s actually silver and copper in colour) and was a superb subject for a black and white image.
Having made the replacements and additions to my set, I needed to consider order, and the sequence upon which I settled was as follows.
I’m very satisfied with the new set from the perspective that the images are now all close ups, and also that their content is less obvious and maybe more of a challenge to the viewer. I’m not yet convinced that the narrative element is as strong as the first set, so this will need a little more thought before the final submission for Assessment, although there is still a clear element of the progression of restoration. maybe a final tweak later, maybe not …..