14th July ’21

Peter Britton – Project Proposals for Major Project

Idea One:

The Sun Ablaze or The Sun of a New Day

Test images

Entitled either ‘The Sun Ablaze’ or ‘The Sun of a New Day’ this is a visual, photographic and artistic interpretation of National Trust locations across Wales. Overall, the project will be about the diversity of the Welsh landscape (place), the history of each of the NT sites (memory), topographic variety, and the range of different plant specimens across Wales.

Using the camera-less photographic process of Cyanotype, combined with poured acrylic art I would like to produce a piece of art for each of the 50+ National Trust venues across Wales. You can see my initial experiments here, and get a feel for how the finished pieces will appear:

https://www.peter-britton.com/sense-of-place

The objects/items I would use for this project would come from the National Trust venues, so would therefore involve me collecting and taking leaves, flowers, soil samples, water, etc, and creating the pieces in the landscape.

The final pieces would feature manipulated folds in the paper to incorporate topographical features of the environment. My main inspiration for this comes from my previous project (S A N D), and the engagement I had with Meghann Riepenhoff’s work.

Littoral Drift #93 (Shine Tidelands, Port Ludlow, WA 01.02.17, Five Waves During Tidal Drawback); 42×93″

The project would culminate in an exhibition of the final pieces at one of National Trusts prestigious locations, with potential for a wider exhibition, hopefully in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay where I have exhibited several times previously and have strong links. There could also be potential for a (National Trust?) photobook linked to this project, within which the project narrative is revealed and the artworks are showcased with a description/story of the venue/process description on the facing page.

Research so far: Meghann Riepenhoff, Susan Derges, Adam Jeppesen, Josef Nadj, Andy Goldsworthy.

Idea Two:

H E A D / S P A C E

Misty, 2005, Alec Soth                                                                              On The Beach, 2007, Richard Misrach

This project is an investigation into individuals that use a natural landscape for exercise and escape. I aim to photograph people who use a particular natural landscape (their favourite place) for the benefits of wellbeing. It is about the benefits that are given by a landscape whilst undertaking their exercise pursuits; utilising the natural environment for exercise and wellbeing purposes. This brings my previous projects into sharp perspective as all of the themes that I have been working towards are realised via this project – place, memory and wellbeing. This project however steps away from ‘me’, and opens up challenges and difficulties as I attempt to uncover these themes within other people. Visually, I aim to photograph via large format 10×8 colour head and shoulder portraits to show the subject in the environment and aerial drone photography to show the smallness of the subject within the environment. This creates a visual juxtaposition of old (large format film) and new (drone). I want to photograph at least twelve individuals within this project, including a mountain biker, surfer, river kayaker, wild swimmer, rock climber, etc…

There will be an accompanying video piece that looks in depth (via interviews) at three of these characters to further explore their reasons for pursuing activity in a natural landscape.

I see this project culminating in an exhibition, with large format prints of all participants, lit and suspended from stands, alongside their aerial landscape image. The video piece would be part of the installation. There would also be an accompanying book.

Research so far:

Richard Misrach – On The Beach

Markus Torgeby – under the open skies

Alec Soth – MAIN INFLUENCE

Jonathan Bielaski

Madeline Waller – east London swimmers

John Mayers

Martin Schoeller – big heads

August Sander

Jeff Wall (portraits)

Rineke Dijkstra

Dana Lixenburg

Idea Three:

Ghostships and Tides

Peter Britton, Boiler, 2021

I have always been fascinated by Tusker Rock. Sitting in the middle of the Bristol Channel, the 500m rock is only visible at low tide and is a notorious hazard for ships. The aim of this project is to create a legacy for the men and women who lost their lives to the rock.

I recently stumbled upon an article on Wales online about Tusker Rock (https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/tiny-island-welsh-coast-graveyard-15519672). The Wales online article revealed to me that Tusker Rock is a graveyard for shipwrecked vessels and has ‘killed’ an extraordinary number of people throughout history. I then watched Hidden Wales (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08sfk5l) and by happy circumstance my friend knows Ross Martin very well. As such I organised through him to go out to Tusker Rock on 25th June, and have completed one shoot using large format 5×4, DSLR and Drone Cameras.

Peter Britton, SS Liban, 2021

My intentions are to create a photographic and video art work about the rock, but with the legacy of the lives lost at the projects heart. In Hidden Wales, Ross Martin says “Something should be done to remember the lives of those lost”… I think this is where my project comes in.   

I intend to photograph the rock and the wreck remnants via both film and digital processes (5×4, DSLR and Drone), but to then create installation pieces using gelatine glass cyanotypes. I see this as an exhibition/installation comprised of sea glass cyan abstractions (circular glass layers gelatine cyan printed with the surface of the sea through which the viewer can observe the shipwrecks (drone shots) below), printed large format imagery, a moving image piece and an accompanying sound installation.

On Friday 9th July I was interviewed by the BBC about the project, with a 3 minute segment going out on BBC Wales Today on Wednesday 14th.

Bibliography

Lensculture. 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.lensculture.com/articles/richard-misrach-on-the-beach&gt; [Accessed 13 July 2021].

Magnum Photos. 2021. Niagara Alec Soth, Magnum Photos Magnum Photos. [online] Available at: <https://www.magnumphotos.com/arts-culture/society-arts-culture/revisiting-alec-soths-niagara/&gt; [Accessed 13 July 2021].

Meghannriepenhoff.com. 2021. Littoral Drift | Meghann Riepenhoff. [online] Available at: <http://meghannriepenhoff.com/project/littoral-drift/&gt; [Accessed 12 July 2021].


15th July ’21

Tusker Rock shoot 25th June

On the 25th June I was fortunate enough to visit Tusker Rock with RNLI crew-members Ross Martin and Frank Benton. I was unsure as to whether this was going to be a recce, a shoot or the start of something big, so I went prepared. I took my 5×4 large format with 24 sheets of film, my DSLR and my drone.

We set off from Porthcawl Harbour at 10am, and the conditions were perfect. We could only access the rock if the seas were calm and the wind low, and these two factors were present on the day. It was a wonderful event. I’ve lived in Porthcawl all my life, but never sailed out of the harbour on a boat. It took about an hour to get to the rock. The traverse is treacherous, as pillars of rock point to the sky from the seafloor, making the passage through the Bristol channel very dangerous. As we moved towards the rock, we were followed by porpoise and we reached the rock at the exact correct time for ease of access. We moved from the yacht to the dingy and rowed ashore.

The experience was amazing. I had the best 1.5 hours with extremely high levels of productivity. Moving between camera formats is always difficult and something that I dislike doing, but in this instance it was successful. I always feel that if you don’t focus on one thing, then something always goes awry… but the shoot was so well planned that these three incredibly different processes worked well as separate methods. The drone was there to capture imagery directly from on top, the slr was to capture general stills and video and the 5×4 was the main capture method to show the wrecks.

Some examples of the 5×4 shots:

The imagery from digital sources and film sources are really successful. Traversing the rock was amazing, as the rock appears to absorbing the wrecks. The wrecks are scattered across the rock, with the SS Liban laying as a skeletal remain on the West side and the Steep Holm gradually breaking down on the East. As it was such a gentle day, the sounds of the small waves lapping at the rocks was tranquil and calming, but I can only imagine what it must be like to be standing on the rock in gale force winds, with roaring waves boiling in the background. To be shipwrecked, at night, at a time when there was no RNLI or rescue service, with the knowledge that once the tide rose the rock that you stood upon would sink into the salty brine must have been horrific. All of that feeling swam upon me as I stood there on that peaceful day amongst the watery graves.

Once I got back on board the yacht I had an overwhelming sense of peace and calm. On the way home we sailed over the wreck of The Mellany. The Mellany, a coal steamer that was travelling from Cardiff to Rio De Janeiro, hit the rock in 1886, foundered and now rests on the channel floor off the coast of Newton dunes.

I feel as though I got everything I needed, but not necessarily everything I wanted from the shoot. I wish to return, to get more drone footage from above and more digital coverage.

Contact sheets:

SLR:

Drone:

S.S. Liban

Tusker Rock

1882

Three dead souls

51°27’21.0″N 3°40’16.4″W

On 29th March the French steamer Liban struck Tusker Rock off Porthcawl. Eight of the crew were saved by the Porthcawl Lifeboat, but three lives were lost.

S. S. Steep Holm

Tusker Rock

1968

All souls saved

51°27’13.4″N 3°39’46.5″W

On October 2nd, 1968, the British dredger Steep Holm, built in 1950 by Hill Charles & Sons and owned at the time of her loss by Holms Sand & Gravel Co. Ltd., on voyage from Barry to Swansea with sand, was wrecked in heavy weather on Tusker Rock, Porthcawl. The crew of seven was saved, but the wreck was looted.


16th July ’21

The Lighthouse – film research for Tusker Rock

Well… I watched ‘The Lighthouse’ last night. It was excellent. I enjoy films that have a certain artistic agenda, and this absolutely did. I’m not an enormous fan of the ‘blockbuster’ style of movie making, and I certainly don’t like superhero films, so when I sit down to enjoy a film I do want to be able to take something of worth away.

Dir: Robert Eggers. Starring: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, and Valeriia Karaman. 15 cert, 109 mins, 2019

Loughrey (2020) says ‘The Lighthouse deals with madness, but in a form that feels ancient and mythical in its nature. Eggers not only draws from the old folk tales and superstitions sailors used to cling to as the only way to bring reason and order to the all-consuming chaos of the sea, but from Greek mythology, too. There are nods to Icarus, Prometheus, and Proteus. Eggers never delineates between reality and dream, leaving us to decide for ourselves whether the island is cursed by some otherworldly power or whether this is all some kind of hallucination. In The Lighthouse, a seagull might just be a seagull, but there’s also a chance it’s a harbinger of evil. Only the sea knows”.

There is a lot that I can draw from this movie. When I create moving video pieces, they do tend to be a little ‘ordinary’. I very much appreciate the visual aesthetic of this film, but more importantly, the sound. The foghorn that permeates the film is extraordinary, and adds such a vast depth of impeding doom. Ghostships and Tides will have an accompanying audio piece, that will now be based around the sound of a fog horn.

Loughrey, C., 2021. The Lighthouse review: A claustrophobic horror filled with sweaty desire, sickly jealousy, and unbridled rage. [online] The Independent. Available at: <https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/reviews/lighthouse-review-robert-pattinson-willem-dafoe-trailer-a9143576.html&gt; [Accessed 22 July 2021].


18th July ’21

Research – ship wreck website

https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?151434

This could be a useful resource. It is a website that documents ship wrecks internationally. I’m not currently sure where the project will lead (ie. Stay on Tusker, or move further afield?), but this site could prove useful…

The Liban is on there, but info is scant:

https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?233087


20th July ’21

Application – Arts Council Wales

As a trial for filling in the type of application, I have submitted for funding for ‘Ghostships and Tides’. Via the Arts Council Wales website, I have applied for a £3000 grant… I have done this as an experiment to try the application process and use it as a learning curve. I do not expect to receive funding, but can learn from the experience…

Application notes:

I foresee this as an exhibition. I have previously exhibited in the Welsh Assembly Building (The Senedd), but have wide links to galleries and organisations. I recently had an exhibition in Newport, on Friars Walk in a pop up gallery (https://www.the-sand-dunes.com/the-exhibition) and have access to this space once again. My audience would be all generations and ethnic backgrounds, particularly those with an interest in maritime events, but the project would appeal to many. I would also be holding workshops about the cyanotype procedure and gelatine glass cyanotype procedure for the general public.

This project would link to the RNLI, as they would help facilitate my safe passage to the rock.

The wider impact of having this support would enable the exhibition/workshops to take place. The creation of the circular cyan gelatine pieces is costly. I would attempt to involve the wider community via interviews about the rock, and interview/involve family members of those who lost their lives in the channel. The project by default creates a legacy for the men and women who perished at sea through history.

As the exhibition will hopefully take place in a prominent location in either Newport or Cardiff, the diversity of individuals who have the opportunity to see the project would be incredibly large. I feel it is important for history to be made into art. The lives lost on this rock were diverse; for example the most prominent wreck is the S.S. Liban, a French ship carrying Iron Ore from 1882. I intend to try to find relatives from the wreck and photograph them to show the diversity of industry and interconnectedness.

Knowledge of the danger of the Bristol Channel is little known across the nation, and I intend to show how treacherous this aquatic graveyard is by holding talks and photographic demonstrations. I have strong links to the BAME community in Cardiff, as I am also a photographic lecturer and have created courses in the Wales Millennium Centre (alongside Yusuf Hussein) to help young individuals find a creative path. More of the same could be done within this project. You can read about the course I set up here: https://www.coleggwent.ac.uk/news/a-focus-on-photography-with-ethnic-minority-communities

Art that delves into history unknown is a fascinating thing. To create art about an event, place or moments in eras past allows art to evolve and the past to inspire. Again, I foresee this as an exhibition, and alongside my lecturing links, there is a wealth of opportunity for myself to deliver workshops on the history of the rock/wrecks/legacy and within photographic processes themselves. As an educator, this is a great opportunity to give people that inspirational first step, that could promote a career in the arts.

Cultural contract:

The impact of developing a greater understanding of local maritime disasters could help bring a greater level of understanding about safety in the oceans and the sea. By investigating the past, this project has enormous potential to help with current problems, such as the importance of safety in the waves, safe passage through dangerous sea courses and wider concerns, such as plastic in the oceans.

As a lecturer, there is scope to deliver my own workshops throughout the exhibition, but also to organise guest speakers about these wider issues. I did this recently, with my previous project, and one thing that was was of enormous benefit to the community was a guided tour that I led. I could do the same, on Newton Beach, where I discuss the rock and wider concerns related to the sea. This would be a great opportunity for the wider community to be present, engaged and taking part interactively.

By having the exhibition somewhere prominent, this would also easy access for cultural diversity and expansion of understanding across wider communities.

NB. I don’t have employees…

Engagement:

Marketing will occur across a wealth of platforms and via a variety of methods. Across my own online presences, including my website and blog (www.peter-britton.com) and also via the creation of a sub site. I did this with my last project (www.the-sand-dunes.com) and it was an enormous success. Also, my own social media channels would be used to post regularly (insta – @peterbrittonphoto). My work place (Coleg Gwent and Cardiff MET) are also great at promoting their lecturers professional practice, and social media post/web news would be released also.

There is also the wider photographic community to help, and I have super relationships/collaborations with Ffotogallery and Ffoton.

As for content, there would interviews and set up images/video. Content from the exhibition and launch. Content via workshops and walks. As this is linked to the RNLI who are helping me, and as previously stated already taken me there for a recce, there is wider promotion through their organisation too. I also have an interview lined up with the BBC, and this is expected to air on Wales Today next week. They want to do a follow up piece once the work begins and then when the exhibition is on.

Outreach wise, there will be Workshops (Cyanotypes and Glass cyanotypes) and Guest talks on the use of plastic, safety, from Ross Martin of the RNLI on the history of the rock and the Newton beach walk.

Neewer lighting company have helped me out in the past with exhibition lights and Coleg Gwent have also helped support me through time given in work.

In terms of sharing the experiences, as previously stated this will occur across a wealth of platforms and via a variety of methods. Across my own online presences, including my website and blog (www.peter-britton.com) and also via the creation of a sub site. I did this with my last project (www.the-sand-dunes.com) and it was an enormous success. Also, my own social media channels would be used to post regularly (insta – @peterbrittonphoto). My work place (Coleg Gwent and Cardiff MET) are also great at promoting their lecturers professional practice, and social media post/web news would be released also.

Track record:

I’m a professional photographer and award winning lecturer of 15 years. I studied at both University of Gloucestershire and at University of Glamorgan. My freelance work focuses on large format portraits – http://www.five-by-four.com. After a 15 year career in commercial and wedding photography, my own practice is now more arts based. My work focuses on landscape, with underlying themes of the importance of place and memory. You can see my most recently completed project here: http://www.the-sand-dunes.com

I course lead the BA in Photography at Coleg Gwent. I am a senior fellow of the higher education academy and course leader on the Photography Degree at Coleg Gwent. I am currently studying my MA in Photography at University of Gloucestershire.

Previous exhibitions:

2021 Unit 9, Friars Walk, Newport

2020 National Trust Tredegar House

2020 Ffotogallery Platform

2019 Senedd, Cardiff Bay

2018 Orangery, Tredegar House

2014 Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay

2010 Grand Pavilion

Key Stages:

Recce – already complete. I needed to do this before the project began to check on viability. As this is somewhat dangerous, and can only be accessed on a couple of intervals across the year, I needed to check that the project is viable before anything else could occur. I have deemed the project viable.

Shoot one – via 5×4 large format photography I intend to photography two wrecks on the rock – SS Liban and the Steep Holm.

Shoot two – drone/aerial footage of the rock to capture the wrecks from the air and the sea surface for the glass cyanotype element.

Shoot three – Video content shoot.

Shoot four – interviews with family members.

Exhibition planning, set up and delivery on talks, workshops and walk.

Across the visits to Tusker, Ross Martin will be assisting me (RNLI).

Covid:

The original intention for this work is as an exhibition. The work is installation based, including sound and video pieces. The alternative to this is to go online. I have a high level of experience in this, as I have previously hosted online showcases for my learners via many online exhibition platforms. The other alternative is a short ‘pop up’ exhibition at an outdoor location overlooking Tusker Rock.


21st July ’21

Research – Edgar Holloway

“Edgar Holloway began engraving at the age of fifteen and was one of the last artists to enjoy the final years of success remaining to the great printmakers of the British Etching Revival. Initially self-taught, though encouraged by the great masters of etching, Muirhead Bone and James McBey, Edgar Holloway received his first formal instruction in etching technique from Joseph Webb and later from the Scottish etcher William Wilson. His work is divided into two phases: the first between 1930 and 1947; the second phase beginning in 1969 and lasting to the early years of the 1990’s.

Having abandoned etched portraiture in 1947, after more than a decade of brilliant workmanship, Edgar Holloway was inspired to re-kindle his youthful talents in etching by the prospect of a visit to America at the invitation of Rev. T. Phelan, one of the American patrons of the Guild of St. Joseph and St. Dominic. The Rev. Phelan had visited the Guild at Ditchling in 1970 and was greatly impressed with Edgar Holloway’s etched portraits from the 1930’s. His enthusiasm inspired Edgar Holloway to undertake a new phase of etched portraiture and Holloway received a commission for twelve etched portraits as a direct result of his American trip. Although Edgar Holloway made many highly accomplished topographical prints and fine portraits, he is best known today for the many penetrating and superbly handled self-portrait etchings through which he revealed his own intriguing persona”.

There is a stoic but sad melancholy to Edgar Holloways work. He described himself as ‘alone’, hence the initial requirement to practice his art on himself, and this feeling comes through in his images. Thought, hope, imaginings, wish… all these things are apparent in his work. Above all, these representations of self make me wonder what Holloway is thinking. In particular within the works above, I feel there is something unspoken. It is as though this work is directed at somebody, or as though he is searching for something. This depth of feeling, of connection, is something that I want to come across in the portraits I take for head/space…

Campbell-fine-art.com. 2021. Biography of Edgar Holloway. [online] Available at: <https://www.campbell-fine-art.com/artists.php?id=193&gt; [Accessed 2 August 2021].


21st July ’21

Research – Ronald Lowe

Ronald Lowe
English 1932 1985
Venture into the Dales
Watercolour

Autumn journey – Brecon (Watercolour) – Ronald Lowe – 1969

Of Lowe, artuk says “Painter, mural artist, printmaker and teacher, born in Skipton, Yorkshire. He studied at Leeds College of Art, 1949–55, with Richard Macdonald and Keith Lucas, and in London. After serving as an education officer in the Army, taught 1959–71 at Haverfordwest Grammar School, then became Her Majesty’s Inspector, Art, Wales, meanwhile lecturing for many years on history of art, part-time, at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. Took part in many group shows, including RA, SEA and SWG, AIA and Howard Roberts Gallery, Cardiff. Many one-man shows, starting with Dillwyn Gallery, Swansea, mainly in Wales but also in America. Haverfordwest Civic Society held a commemorative retrospective for Ron Lowe in 1987 and there was an important exhibition at Newport Museum and Art Gallery in 1988.”

Having recently been introduced to the work of Ronald Lowe, I find it to be wonderful. The high vantage points that Lowe takes are potentially an influence to me. Using the drone within both of my potential projects, these high vantage points resonate with my style and technique. I wonder if I can combine Lowe’s beautiful visual aesthetic with something different to create imagery that really stands out. One problem within my head/space project is the fact that I have a disparity in formats, size and quality; 10 x 8 large format photography does not potentially sit well next to drone photography, which has a much lower resolution.

The two images that really stand out to me from Lowe’s work are remarkable in their depth, colour, and mood. That is something that is entirely important within landscape; a sense of mood. The days and conditions that Lowe decides to represent within his pictures are totally wonderful. If I take the ‘venture into the dales’ painting as an example, the warm hues, and the way that the eye leads through the foreground down the road into the abstract movement and shape of the image draws you in and makes the viewer feel familiar and welcome in this landscape. The ‘autumn journey’ watercolour likewise draws you in via the lines that take you through to the mountains but it is a contrast of the complimentary greens and grey is that attracts my eye. Grey and green have long been my two favourite colours, and they always sit well together.

Artuk.org. 2021. Lowe, Ronald, 1932–1985 | Art UK. [online] Available at: <https://artuk.org/discover/artists/lowe-ronald-19321985#&gt; [Accessed 4 August 2021].

Venture into the Dales, E., 2021. Ronald Lowe Venture into the Dales from http://www.bigskyfineart.com. [online] Bigskyfineart.com. Available at: <https://www.bigskyfineart.com/venture-into-the-dales~204&gt; [Accessed 2 August 2021].


21st July ’21

Email to potential participants for HEAD/SPACE:

H E A D / S P A C E 

I’d like to invite you to be part of my next photographic project. Entitled HEAD/SPACE this project is an investigation into individuals that use a natural landscape for exercise and escape. I aim to photograph people who use a particular natural landscape (possibly their favourite place) for the benefits of both wellbeing and exercise. The project is ultimately about the benefits that are given by a landscape whilst undertaking  exercise pursuits; utilising the natural environment for exercise and wellbeing purposes.

I would like to capture a large format 10×8 colour head and shoulder portrait of you to show you in the environment in which you exercise/escape and an aerial drone photograph to show how small we as humans within the environment. This creates a visual juxtaposition of old (large format film) and new (drone). I aim to also capture some accompanying video footage to further explore your reasons for pursuing activity in a natural landscape.  

I see this project culminating in an exhibition, with large format prints of all participants, lit and suspended from stands, alongside their aerial landscape image. The video piece would be part of the installation and there would also be an accompanying book. 

So, I’m wondering if you are interested in taking part? I wouldn’t need much of your time, and can work around you. Let me know and hope all is well.

Pete.


23rd July ’21

BBC interview

Today my interview for the BBC about ‘Ghost Ships and Tides’ was aired and promoted across BBC news.

The interview appeared across all BBC news platforms, with the lead being taken by BBC Wales News. The piece aired all day across the telly and there was a bigger feature on the Wales Today evening news section. The online feature also featured on the front page of the Main BBC news website, which was amazing!

You can see the web feature here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-wales-57918489

And here is the evening news feature:

It was a great experience being interviewed. I was interviewed by a lovely chap called Matthew Murray. We met on Newton beach, in Porthcawl, and placed Tusker Rock behind us for the interview. I’m quite used to being ‘interviewed’ but this one felt different, as though there was more at stake. I’m really happy with the level of exposure the piece has brought though.


29th July ’21

Following on from a conversation with Spencer Murphy and Tony Clancy in class, we discussed the potential problem with my desired formats within HEAD/SPACE – that being the disparity in scale/quality in 10×8 and drone imagery. Part of the submission for this project would be an exhibition, with the two parts to the project (portrait and landscape) being displayed in large print side by side. The quality difference would be both enormous and apparent. whilst we were talking about this, I had the idea to merge multiple images together to give a greater quality. With the drone, instead of a single image captured from above, I could move closer to the ground, and capture four or more shots of the same scene by manoeuvring the drone around. This would increase the quality once merged by four… I also had the thought of Hockney style joiners. Then, by happenstance, I came upon the work of:

SOHEI NISHINO

These pieces are incredible. Sohei Nishino says of the work:

“Cities are always “amplifying” themselves repeatedly. They emerge and disappear as they continue to integrate themselves. With a camera in hand, I walk through specific cities to take photographs– those of birds’ eye views, of views captured by looking up above me or views from various locations along the road. 

Thereafter, referring to the map, I put together on various canvases all the “fragments” that I have captured, so as to reconstruct my memories to enable myself to render into images the specificity of the respective cities and the appearance of “the present” whose glimpse the cities have given me. By doing so, I try to express again the geographical representations by using the photographs that have captured the specific things and events that are completely different from the symbolic representations on maps. This is my attempt to express the appearance of the cities by integrating my personal experiences and memories. What results is not at all a map to convey precise information, but the record of how I, as a human being, have walked through their streets and how I looked at those streets. Along with being the representation of my awareness, it is that of the appearance of the respective cities as the epitome of their vitality. I try to capture the cities, not necessarily as the entities consisting of the symbolized information and material buildings, but as the fresh and organic Life that is the accumulation of the experiences and activities or the history or memory of the people who live there.

What constitutes the important element of the Series, Diorama in Map, is the constant “movement”. The series is the work that is the deposit of my experiences and the time I have spent in encountering the various phenomena as I move through a certain place. At the same time, by using all my methods of photographing as the elements that constitute a map, I try to actualize in the form of a bird’s-eye-view map, my awareness of the world which spreads out before me, that is, immediately before my eyes. A great many processes are included in the process of producing this work. I can say that each of these processes constitutes a part of my journey through the cities. The reason for that is my belief that photographs are not completed at the moment they are taken, but are completed in the process of recollecting the memories thereafter by confronting them again. I believe that what results from my confronting these enormous number of photographs, and actualizing again in the form of a map by integrating them, is my personal portrait, as well as my representation of the appearance of a specific city whose glimpse it has given me. Moreover, by emphasizing “repetitions” in this series, I try to see the transformation in my personal way of responding to cities and that of my way of communicating them, not to mention the transformations of the cities as structures. I do so by looking at one and the same city at a specific time”.

The image of Hong Kong is a personal favourite:

The visual style is directly related to Hockney, but on an enormous scale. The size of these creations is vast. Sometimes you see something and you immediately connect and that happened with this piece. We see so many images these days via instagram, that it is rare that we (I) look at something and stop. Social media has both enabled us and disabled us in equal measure. But it is worthwhile, for those fleeting moments when something magical passes over the screen of our phone, and we stop scrolling.

The artists gallery (Michael Hoppen) states that “Sohei Nishino was born in Hyogo, Japan in 1982. He graduated from Osaka University of the Arts in 2004, when he began working on his Diorama Map series. Since then he has exhibited his work internationally and gleaned numerous awards including ‘President Award’, Osaka University of Arts (2004), ‘Young Eye Japanese Photographer Association Award’ (2005), ‘Canon New Cosmos Photography Award’ (2005) and the ‘Canon Excellence Award’ (2005).”

By using photography and collage, he creates an alternative view of a city (or place) that both disorientates and binds the viewer in terms of the experience one has when traversing the city streets. By taking predominantly high vantage points, he photographs on 35mm black and white film to create a geographical representation of place through memory and image.

These images have enormous energy. The energy that Sohei Nishino expends whilst making these pieces is transferred directly to the pieces. They bristle with vitality, and I can only imagine what they look like in ‘real life’. There is one on display at the Ashmolean museum in Oxford… https://www.ashmolean.org/tokyo#/&#8230; I might take the kids for a day out.

As for how I could use this… I might try one during the first shoot with my drone. I think I will have to merge several images to achieve the resolution needed to sit next to the 10×8’s, so I might as well have a go at one of these during the experimental stage of HEAD/SPACE. This project in a way circulates around energy, so if I can put some of that energy back into the final pieces, then more the good.

Michael Hoppen Gallery. 2021. Sohei Nishino. [online] Available at: <https://www.michaelhoppengallery.com/artists/25-sohei-nishino/overview/#/artworks/9577&gt; [Accessed 31 July 2021].

Sohei Nishino. 2021. The JOURNAL by Sohei Nishino. [online] Available at: <http://soheinishino.net/dioramamap&gt; [Accessed 28 July 2021].


31st July ’21

DECISION – GHOST SHIPS AND TIDES IS MY MAJOR PROJECT.

It makes most sense to go with this option as it is the most viable, and seems to be the one that the majority of people I have spoken with want to engage with. I have decided that it will reach further afield and spread across South Wales investigating the lives lost along the coast. It will culminate as an exhibition.

Ghost ships exhibition

Glass cyan considerations – don’t want it to look like a table. Might use barrels…

I have been thinking about how to create the glass cyanotype pieces for an exhibition. The idea is to print on glass or acrylic imagery of the surface of the sea. Then, underneath there will be displayed photographs of the surface of Tusker rock. This will make the viewer look down through the surface of the sea onto the rock in its watery world below. How to suspend the surface of the sea over the imagery of the rock is still up for consideration. My first thought was circles of glass above the imagery via tables. But they will just look like tables. And I don’t want that. So my next thought goes to items that one would find on a boat or a ship, and one potential option is to use barrels. I quite like this idea, as barrels are not expensive, I could illuminate the image of the rock inside the barrel and the illumination would also make the surface of the sea appear to glow. This would look great for the imagery but… Would the exhibition end up looking like on the inside of a maritime and nautical themed pub… Maybe.

https://www.google.com/search?q=barrels&rlz=1C5CHFA_enGB958GB958&oq=barrels&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i433i457i512j46i175i199i512j0i512l5j46i512j0i512.2324j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

And will try both glass and acrylic:

https://www.plasticsheets.com/perspex-acrylic-disc-cut-to-size/?

https://www.vidaxl.co.uk/e/vidaxl-table-top-tempered-glass-round-600-mm/8718475525165.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwo4mIBhBsEiwAKgzXOMs4AD9r7zkODYA6llfx1Zz35uto1XBcAVX-ewrYyV4iD5wTxAMpmRoCThgQAvD_BwE


1st Aug ’21

Paper Negative experiment

Today I successfully shot some paper negatives in my 5 x 4 view camera. My previous attempt at shooting paper negatives was an unmitigated disaster – I used direct positive fibre-based paper and it quite simply did not work. This time I did nothing different only other than to use ordinary Ilford multigrade resin coated paper. The results are very nice, if somewhat contrasty but that is the norm when undertaking this style of photography. To eliminate some of the contrast I could try pre-flashing the paper under the enlarger, but I actually quite like the extreme heavy contrast within this test shot of my daughter. Considering it is a paper negative, therefore giving the potential not to sit flush within the negative carrier, the result is pretty sharp. I’m not sure if there is an application for this within either of my two potential projects, but there is definitely an application for this within some of my other project ideas and I will certainly be using this as the medium for some future projects.


2nd Aug ’21

Large format 10×8 experiment

On a break whilst in work today I quickly loaded up a slice of 10 x 8 Rollei ortho film into a negative carrier to work out portrait distances for the head/space project. I made a mistake whilst photographing, as you can see from the above image. I foolishly started to pull out the dark slide whilst the lens was open, but I decided to use the piece of film none the less, as this was only a distance setting experiment. Distance wise I’m happy with the resulting image but I’m also very glad I made this mistake with a piece of film that didn’t belong to me so therefore didn’t cost me any incurred expense. When shooting large format photography it is incredibly easy to make silly mistakes. Getting distracted whilst talking, being distracted by passers-by and therefore forgetting to do something is actually a very easy thing to do in large format photography as there is so much to consider and remember when capturing an image. I’m very pleased this happened with this slice of film and not a slice of Kodak portra.


5th August ’21

Today I emailed my contacts in the Senedd about an exhibition for ‘Ghostships and Tides’. Here is the content of the email:

Hi Alice and Lea,

I am once again on the hunt for an exhibition venue, and thought I would start with the Senedd. I have just started making work for a new photographic and video project entitled ‘Ghost ships and tides’, which is a project about Tusker Rock. I have always been fascinated by Tusker Rock. Sitting in the middle of the Bristol Channel, the 500m rock is only visible at low tide and is a notorious hazard for ships. As such it is scattered with ship wrecks. The aim of this project is to create a photographic and video art work about the rock, with the legacy of the lives lost during the industrial revolution at the projects heart.

I have started photographing the rock and the ship wreck remnants via both film and digital processes (5×4, DSLR and Drone), and from these images I wish to create installation pieces using gelatine glass cyanotypes. I see this as an exhibition/installation comprised of a combination of sea glass cyan abstractions (circular glass layers gelatine cyan printed with the surface of the sea through which the viewer can observe the shipwrecks (drone shots) below), printed large format imagery, a moving image piece and an accompanying sound installation.

I have performed shoot one, and the imagery from digital sources and film sources are really successful. On the 25th June I was fortunate enough to visit Tusker Rock with RNLI crew-members Ross Martin and Frank Benton. Traversing the rock was amazing, as the rock appears to absorbing the wrecks. The wrecks are scattered across the rock, with the SS Liban laying as a skeletal remain on the West side and the Steep Holm gradually breaking down on the East. As it was such a gentle day, the sounds of the small waves lapping at the rocks was tranquil and calming, but I can only imagine what it must be like to be standing on the rock in gale force winds, with roaring waves boiling in the background. To be shipwrecked, at night, at a time when there was no RNLI or rescue service, with the knowledge that once the tide rose the rock that you stood upon would sink into the salty brine must have been horrific. All of that feeling swam upon me as I stood there on that peaceful day amongst the watery graves, and it is for those lives lost that I am making the work.

Once I got back on board the yacht I had an overwhelming sense of peace and calm. On the way home we sailed over the wreck of The Mellany. The Mellany, a coal steamer that was travelling from Cardiff to Rio De Janeiro, hit the rock in 1886, foundered and now rests on the channel floor off the coast of Newton dunes.

I feel it is important for history to be made into art. The lives lost on this rock were diverse; for example the most prominent wreck is the S.S. Liban, a French ship carrying Iron Ore from 1882. I intend to try to find relatives from the wreck and photograph them to show the diversity of industry and interconnectedness.

Art that delves into history unknown is a fascinating thing. To create art about an event, place or moments in eras past allows art to evolve and the past to inspire. Again, I foresee this as an amazing exhibition, and alongside my lecturing links, there is a wealth of opportunity for myself to deliver workshops on the history of the rock/wrecks/legacy and within photographic processes themselves, should that be beneficial to the Senedd.

I was recently interviewed by the BBC about the work in progress project. You can see the interview here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-wales-57918489

I would love the Senedd to be the venue where this exhibition happens. It all fits; industrial history, history unknown, art and education of a landmark that until now was little known about. I would not be looking to exhibit the work until December…

Let me know if we can have a meeting… I can show you imagery, video and a preview of how the glass cyanotypes will look.

Thanks!

Pete.


6th August ’21

I’ve had a response from the Senned, and they have a backlog of exhibition, which is understandable. Here’s the response:


6th August ’21

Music and poetry

A few good things have come from the BBC interview. Lots of people are talking about it, and the piece was most watched on BBC Wales section for three days straight. I have also been contacted by a musician who makes music based on the Welsh coastline and a Poet.

The musician I have been contacted by is Gareth Bouch. His band is the rain dogs, and the ambient sounds they make are perfect as an accompaniment. Here is a copy of the communication:

So I can basically use the music for free, as long as there is a mention. The music is very appropriate as it is ambient background, rather than the ‘star of the show’.

I was also contacted by a local poet, Tony Curtis (I don’t think it’s the Tony Curtis). Here’s the communication:

Dear Peter Britton,

I read with interest about your Tusker Rock project. I have known these rocks and of their importance to

the imaginative life of the area for some years, as we were regular visitors to Dannie Abse’s house in Ogmore.

I wrote this poem back in the autumn; it is unpublished, but will be included in my eleventh collection Leaving the Hills from Seren next year.

I share this with you for your interest and would be happy if you felt that it would be appropriate for the project.

Do feel free to call me if you wish to discuss this.

Sincerely,

Tony Curtis.

Again, like the music, the poem is fitting. Here is a copy:

Dannie’s Rock

Countless low tides leaving the Ogmore beach wide

for walks, French cricket and burying fathers.

Out to the west, half way to England, it seems,

The sea baring its black teeth shows Tusker Rock,

Ynys Twsgwr, tu skar, stark above the flat water,

Fangs shown only because of the wrecks –

A wheelhouse, ribs, blown open boiler room,

Propellor, capstan, winch and chains,

The long-broken spine of the S.S. Liban lost in a storm,

And many others. The dead sailors and a child,

All those who floundered, drowned, falling

From the tilting decks to their cold deaths.

A colony of starfish and mussels and goose barnacles

Live and prosper on what we leave.

The sea scans the same measured syllables,

Songs that sound out of the scored waves.

There are more stories to tell –  Britten, Debussy,

Always more music to raise from the chains of the deep;

For these blind rocks, Dannie,

Could never satisfy the hungers of our sea.

I could use this poem within the video element, aural element or as text, I am yet to determine…

From that I researched Dannie Abse, and came across this poem, which references Tusker Rock:

A Letter From Ogmore – Danni Abse

Goodbye, 20th Century. 
What should I mourn? 
Hiroshima? Auschwitz? 
Our friend, Carmi, said, 
‘Thank forgetfulness 
else we could not live; 
thank memory 
else we’d have no life.’ 

Goodbye, 20th Century. 
What shall I celebrate? 
Darling, I’m out of date: 
even my nostalgia 
is becoming history. 
Those garish, come-on posters 
outside a cinema, 
announce the Famous 
I’ve never heard of. 
So many other friends, too, 
now like Carmi, have joined 
a genealogy of ghosts. 

But here, this mellow evening, 
on these high cliffs I look down 
to read the unrolling 
holy scrolls of the sea. They are 
blank. The enigma is alive 
and, for the Present, I boast, 
thumbs in lapels, I survive. 

Delightful Eros 
still hauls Reason along 
zig-zag on a taut leash. 
I’m still unsettled by 
the silence in framed pictures, 
foreground and background; 
or the mastery of music 
over mind. And I hail 
the world within a word. 
I do not need to be 
a fabulist like Iolo 
who, from this same coast, 
would see seven sails 
where there was but one. 

Goodbye, 20th Century, 
your trumpets and your drums, 
your war-wounds still unhealed. 
Goodbye, I-must-leave-you-Dolly, 
goodbye Lily Marlene. 
Has the Past always a future? 

Will there always be 
a jackboot on the stair, 
a refugee to roam? 
A man with no roots is lost 
like the darkness in the forest, 
and it costs 100 years 
for a hiding place 
to become a home. 

Now secular strangers come 
sealed in Fords and Nissans, 
a congregation of cars, 
to this opening estuary 
so various, so beautiful, so old. 
The tide is out. 
And from the reeledin 
sea – not from 
the human mind’s vexed fathoms – 
the eternal, murderous, 
fanged Tusker Rock is revealed. 

Abse, D., 2021. PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine – Two Poems – Dannie Abse – PN Review 118. [online] Pnreview.co.uk. Available at: <https://www.pnreview.co.uk/cgi-bin/scribe?item_id=94&gt; [Accessed 5 August 2021].


5th Aug ’21

Meeting with RNLI crewmembers

I’ve just got back from a meeting (in a pub) with the RNLI. I took the opportunity to show them the large format imagery captured on visit one, the digital stills and the video diary. We met in the Jennings Building in Porthcawl, which is important in it’s own right – I’ll come to that in a moment. During the meeting, they were impressed with that which I have shot so far. We also discussed a return trip, hopefully on the summer equinox (Sept 22nd). Photographing aims of shoot two are pinhole large format transparency film, taking the drone over the other side, drone shots of the rock straight down, a combo drone shot of the rock (Hockney-esque), and 10×8 imagery of where the sea meets the rock. I feel this last part is important, as it is this ‘edge’ that plays such a vital role. Visually, it is our stimuli for leaving, and is is also what the sailors must have been observant of, and terrified by…

I want to see if I can find the remains of the Anne and Teresa – 1806 – January 30th, the “Anne & Teresa”, Penclawdd for Bristol, ran onto the Nash Sands. The crew of three were saved, as was the cargo. The vessel was lost.

I also during the meeting managed to secure Porthcawl museum as an exhibition venue, and have decided to pursue the National Museum and the Waterfront museum as potential venues. I was also given the great idea to include the sounds of the buoy at ‘marks’ Tusker in the video and aural installations.

The Jennings building itself is worth a mention at this point, as it has a rich maritime history:

“Built 1832 by James Allen, the proprietor of a spelter works at Dyffryn, as the S terminus of the Dyffryn Llynfi Porthcawl horsedrawn tramroad which was built under an Act of 1825 to transport iron and coal from the Llynfi valley; the Act provided for a new harbour at Pwll Cawl, a rocky promontory amidst the surrounding sand dunes or warrens. Total cost £60,000. Shown on Tithe Map of 1846 and described in the apportionment as a ‘warehouse of the Llynfi Iron Company’ leased from the Dyffryn Llynfi and Porthcawl Railway Company. It was used as a store for iron and iron goods awaiting shipment and is much larger than the few other surviving examples, perhaps as a result of high early expectations of a trading future, or to provide for storage during bad weather, as at some periods the dock was only fully in use during the summer months. Name dates from 1911 when it was used by Jennings and Co, timber importers. In 1920s was part of Cosy Corner site, with Cosy Corner cinema, a converted aeroplane hanger, and Pierrot stage erected to W; to NW was an outdoor roller skating rink with the first floor of Jennings building also being used as a roller skating rink; to N was the Salt Lake for Swimming and Boating created from the former inner dock and to S was the slipway and harbour where paddle steamers called for day trips. In Second World War warehouse became a base for RAF Air Sea Rescue Launch”.

Whilst we were sat, I looked up and noticed the nautical map on the wall above us… And prominent above our heads was Tusker Rock!

Britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. 2021. Jennings Warehouse, Porthcawl, Bridgend. [online] Available at: <https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/300011369-jennings-warehouse-porthcawl#.YQ42GtNKjlw&gt; [Accessed 8 August 2021].


11th Aug

Nash point shoot

Today I went to Nash point to see if I could find the wreck and remains of the BP driver. The conditions were favourable, as the clouds were very worthwhile and added a good ceiling to any potential imagery I was to capture. I had all of my equipment with me including my drone my digital SLR my pinhole camera my large format camera and my necessary accompanying pieces. But with this wreck I did not know the exact location of the remains. So I left much of the equipment in the car, grabbed my DSLR, and scampered down onto the beach. I had a rough idea of where the wreck might be from research, but I did not know an exact location. I first searched to the east of the entrance to the beach but to no avail. So I started winding my way to the left hand side of the beach working my way along the jagged cliffs to see if I could find any wreck remains. Unless I was unsuccessful unfortunately. I’m at to fisherman about a mile down the beach and asked if they had any local knowledge of the wreck, but again they did not I did manage to capture some fairly worthwhile imagery of the cliffs and of the environment but I will have to return once I have performed further research into the location of the wreck.

B. P. Driver

Nash Point

1962

All souls saved

51°24’14.7″N 3°33’41.5″W

In 1962, the empty tanker BP Driver was pushed on the rocks and was abandoned by its crew of five, all of whom survived. Despite the assistance given by the lighthouse, the ship’s captain was unable to bring her in safely to land. At low tide, remains of the wreck can be found about 200m north of the beach access by the light house.


Next Tusker visit organising…

Text to Ross:

Hi Both. Ross, great to see you recently. You gave me lots of ideas and some more great info. I’d like to work out a couple dates. One for getting back out to the rock with you both, and one for visiting some of the gravestones with Ross.

I have had a look at tide tables and there is a lot of potential in September… would any of the following dates work for you both to go back out to Tusker (weather/sea permitting)?  

Wed 8th (ideal)

Thurs 9th

Fri 10th

Sat 11th

Tues 21st

Wed 22nd

Thurs 23rd

Let me know if any of the dates work. Thanks both!


12th Aug

Conversations with first two HEAD/SPACE participants. I am still slowly pushing this idea forward but for my own purposes…

This morning I spoke with Nathan Allen, a cyclocross rider and Tracy Carson a free swimmer and natural wild swimmer. I briefly had via a telephone conversation to both on the premise of the headspace project, and both are willing to take part. Really happy with this as progress, because any project involving people is always very difficult because people have busy lives. People work people are family people need to do, and when one approaches someone to commandeer an entire day from their busy schedule, it is rare that schedules coincide and fall into place. Next step within this potential project is to work out a date for each of these shoots. I tend to photograph on 10 x 8 colour film, and to produce an accompanying video via digital SLR and drone to make a short film about the benefits of exercising in a natural environment.

Example of email sent:

Hi Nath,

I’d like to invite you to be part of my next photographic project. Entitled HEAD/SPACE this project is an investigation into individuals that use a natural landscape for exercise and escape. I aim to photograph people who use a particular natural landscape (possibly their favourite place) for the benefits of both wellbeing and exercise. The project is ultimately about the benefits that are given by a landscape whilst undertaking  exercise pursuits; utilising the natural environment for exercise and wellbeing purposes. 

I would like to capture a large format 10×8 colour head and shoulder portrait of you to show you in the environment in which you exercise/escape and an aerial drone photograph to show how small we as humans within the environment. This creates a visual juxtaposition of old (large format film) and new (drone). I aim to also capture some accompanying video footage to further explore your reasons for pursuing activity in a natural landscape.  

I see this project culminating in an exhibition, with large format prints of all participants, lit and suspended from stands, alongside their aerial landscape image. The video piece would be part of the installation and there would also be an accompanying book. 

So, I’m wondering if you are interested in taking part? The cyclist element suits the project perfectly. I wouldn’t need much of your time, and can work around you. Let me know and hope all is well.

Pete.


18th Aug

Whiteford Sands Lighthouse shoot

Today was absolutely amazing. I ventured out to Whiteford Lighthouse, on Whiteford Sands in the Gower in South Wales. I’ve actually known about this abandoned, derelict Lighthouse for some time and I’ve always been fascinated by it. I’ve decided to include it in this project as it is entirely relevant as a relic of our shipping and water-based past. The very fact that it now no longer works and is in a state of disrepair and decay means that it is now a defunct object that sits surrounded by ocean waves. The shoot was incredibly difficult with all of my now common equipment strapped to my person. I walked four miles over sandy dunes to get to the location. When I got there the tide was exactly where I needed it to be, as I pride myself on good planning and the weather and cloud formations exactly as I wanted them. Being in the vicinity of the Lighthouse was an eerie experience. It was early morning, a little past dawn, and there was not a soul about. The Lighthouse loomed in the distance as I approached. I decided to start with the drone work as Whiteford Lighthouse is in a slightly sensitive area and sits alongside a military base. This was part of my reasoning for wanting to be there early as I would be more inconspicuous early in the day. I achieved some drone video footage and some drone imagery that I’m very proud of/pleased with and they will accompany the large format imagery that I’m capturing. I then moved onto the digital SLR and captured some stills and video, from there set up the pinhole camera and captured three shots of the Lighthouse on 5X4 transparency film, then moved on to the large format black and white. My reasoning behind this progressive process is that by the time I come to shoot the most important part of the photo shoot, which is the large format black-and-white, by shooting in all of these different ways beforehand I will already know the one single angle that works best, therefore not wasting precious film. Drawing on inspiration and research from a wealth of landscape photographers and large format photographers, I shot straight on in documentary style, and captured what will probably be the standout image for the entire project. The walk back was again another 4 miles and by the time I got back to the car I was out of fuel and completely knackered.

Whiteford Lighthouse

Whiteford Beach

Decommissioned in the 1930s 

51°39’09.1″N 4°15’03.5″W

It is an unusual cast-iron lighthouse built in 1865, by the Llanelli Harbour and Burry Navigation Commissioners to mark the shoals of Whiteford Point, replacing an earlier piled structure of 1854, of which nothing remains. It is the only wave-swept cast-iron tower of this size in Britain.

The tower is 44 feet high and stands just above low-water level. The base is about 24 feet in diameter and rises gracefully to a diameter of 11 feet six inches at lantern level. Around the base of the Lighthouse lies a pitched stone apron.


19th Aug

Response for funding

Application Number 2021002989 – Ghost Ships and Tides

Dear Peter,

I regret to inform you that after careful consideration, the Arts Council of Wales has decided not to approve your request for funding of £3,000.00 towards the above.

In a competitive round, we did not feel that you had sufficiently evidenced how you meet our priorities for support as strongly as others considered.

The main reason for this decision was:

After assessing your application, we were very interested in the project proposal and theme. However, we felt that it would have benefitted from more detail about the presenting partner. We were clear that the quality of your work was high, and there was a keenness to support but ultimately we felt there needed to be more detail about the end product in terms of the exhibition proposal.

I appreciate that this will be a disappointment to you.  If you would like to discuss your application further, please contact your Arts Council of Wales Officer.

Cerys Thomas

Cerys.Thomas@arts.wales

The application and the reason(s) for this decision is available to view on the Portal under ‘Submitted Applications’, please click here to log in.

Information about other support available to you is regularly updated on our website: https://arts.wales/funding


24th Aug ’21

My work, ‘Middle of the road’, is part of the Noorderlicht International Photo Festival 2021: The Makeable Mind. The festival is on over 16 locations and features over 70 artists. 

Groningen: 7 Aug – 3 Oct (12 noon – 6 pm) ||| The Hague: 28 Aug – 28 Nov ||| Friesland: 4 Sep – 31 Oct.


25th Aug ’21

Whiteford lighthouse print

Today I ran a test print of the Whiteford light house image. I used the facilities at work to print this large format image as big as I possibly could. I printed it 44 inches across its short side, and I then suspended it from a backdrop stand to see how it would look. I got the idea of not using frames and simply hanging the prints by looking at an exhibition by Awioska Vandermolen, as she did something similar in a recent exhibition. I’m really pleased with the way it looks. The scale has impact; allows the imagery to be seen in the best possible way. It is going to look great as an exhibition piece, and if I print the remaining imagery in this way then the exhibition is going to have enormous impact. I think this is a really good way to work the exhibition as it potentially shows progressive thought in method of hanging work, by almost taking it back to its bare bones. Just a print. A print on a backdrop stand.


25th Aug ’21

Research – project idea


30th Aug ’21

Altmark shoot, Sker/Morfa beach

This morning I visited the MPV Altmark shipwreck on Sker Beach, near Port Talbot. I took a short drive from my house to a tiny little church orientated village called Mawdlam, where I parked and walked the 4 1/2 miles down to Sker beach. The walk was tricky, as on my back I had my 10 x 8 camera, my pinhole camera, a small tripod for the pinhole, my drone, a large heavyweight tripod for the 10 x 8, and my Canon digital SLR. Not to mention large format 10 x 8 and 5 x 4 dark slides. I decided to go this morning because conditions were perfect; beautiful clouds, no wind, and something that has become all important; the position of the tide. The sea really is ruling this project in many ways. It’s about the sea and the effect that it has had upon lives, pleasure and industry. It is about the tide and the position of the tide, both for me within this project and enabling capability to shoot and it is the deciding factor in whether a ship has easy passage or the potential to flounder. The title ghost ships and tides came from a song I was listening to. But the title has become entirely relevant to the project as tides are the dominant force and I’m photographing ghost ships.

After the hike onto the beach I was presented with a beautiful view of Sker beach. This is a place regularly frequented by myself and my children and it is a marvel to behold. As you stand on the shoreline you have Port Talbot steelworks to your right. This enormous venue with its imposing industrial structures is both an eyesore and a marvel of industry. It is horrible, as the pollution that it exudes on a daily basis is enormous but visually it is totally striking. As I stood on the shoreline with the scent of the ocean and the warm morning breeze bombarding my senses I knew that this was going to be a good shoot. I started with the digital SLR, as it is portable, lightweight and always gives me a good basis for creating the best large format images. Large format takes an awful lot of consideration technically and compositionally, so if I’m able to work out the best shots from a small handheld camera before capturing the important large format imagery, then all the better. Not that I’m belittling what one can do with a digital SLR. It is after all my go to camera for every day use it is an entirely remarkable thing and will capture both enormous digital images and 8K video. Once I had finished recording the lay of the land digitally, I turned to the 10 x 8.

I had two darkslides, therefore four images that I could make on black-and-white Rollei 25 film and I set about creating my first image. Immediately I was presented with a problem, as between the Whiteford sands shoot and this shoot the spring appears to have ‘gone’ in the lens. Which is a big problem. I will dismantle the lens this evening to see what is afoot. I persevered though and decided to keep shooting. The problem with this is that the shutter would not work, so to counter this problem I decided to shoot on F.64 therefore giving myself as long exposure as possible. By simply opening up the lens I was able to allow the light in. With a short exposure this is problematic as this creates visible camera shake as the lever to open the lens is heavy and clunky. By using F.64 I was afforded a 15 second exposure which should alleviate the issue of initial opening and closing of the aperture. I hope so, I’ll see tomorrow when I develop the film!

After the 10 x 8 I photographed 5 x 4 transparency pinhole imagery. I only loaded two slices of the film for the shoot. I knew which two images I wanted to make, as previously said I have knowledge of this wreck. Finally I moved to the drone. I am becoming rather affectionate towards my tiny flying camera. It’s wonderful. It records wonderful 4K footage. It captures beautiful raw imagery. It is quite a wonderful thing. I am still in two minds about the worth of drone photography overall. You see a lot of it these days; it gets overused and it always tends to look the same. My own drone imagery is currently looking very much similar to that which anybody could capture. But it is a very worthwhile addition to this forthcoming project. Especially the video element. I only used one battery and spent around 30 minutes in the air capturing imagery and video footage. When I’m capturing footage I’m trying to do the same thing for each and every location, or shipwreck, that I capture. In my mind I am planning the video and results and if I have consistency with capture it means that I will be able to blend the images together so that one shipwreck becomes another in the flash of a frame.

One thing that keeps popping into my mind as I’m using the drone is the work of Ronald Lowe. I love the look of his paintings, they are totally wonderful. They remind me of what you can do with a drone to capture photography from the air. The two are by no means comparable, as one in my own opinion and hold little gravitas while the work of Lowe is entirely mind blowing. I love it. And I am considering it every time I put the drone in the air – what can I do to impart some of Lowe’s wonder into ordinary, standard drone photography? How can I get some of that splendour, some of that visual or into modern technology? At this point, I really don’t know. It was a great shoot if rather exhausting! But that will be the flavour of this project. Multiple cameras once again just like my sand project. This will be an exhibition, so variety of imagery surrounding the one topic I feel is important. So all of the shoots from here on in will involve all of these four different methods of capture.

To walk to and from the car to the beach is worth mentioning also. I walked straight through Kenfig nature reserve, which is the other dune system in Porthcawl. So as I strolled this morning I had a familiar link to my dunes, Newton Burrows. After 9 miles of walking with all the equipment I returned to the car by 10 o’clock in the morning and a much deserved Bacon sandwich.

MFV Altmark

Sker Beach

1961

All souls saved

51°31’44.1″N 3°45’37.9″W

MFV Altmark (M78) was a British registered fishing vessel that ran aground at Sker Bay, Mumbles on the 12th June 1961. All crew rescued. 


1st Sept ’21

Photographing Cefn Sidan today. I am focusing on one wreck again (the SV Paul) carrying 10 x 8, five by four transparency pinhole, drone and digital SLR. Conditions are perfect with very low-lying cloud creating a perfect filter for the light and a wonderful roof for the imagery. Is a perfect morning. No wind so the drone flies easily and the large format camera should be nice and stable. One issue I have with the large for my camera is that I have not been able to fix the spring so I am again closing down to f.64. I’m using the aperture to make the exposure – this is not ideal as the initial opening and closing of the aperture will definitely create wobble. I’m hoping that the resulting long exposure, around 15 seconds or so, will eliminate too much camera shake.

The shoot itself was really good. I’m conscious that I am photographing this project in four different ways at the moment. Two of these methods are becoming very important – drone imagery and video and the 10 x 8 imagery. The digital SLR work is mainly for reference and enabling me to work out the best shot for the 10 x 8. I don’t want to waste film; if I can get the best image in one hit via experimentation in the process that doesn’t cost anything then all the better. The wreck itself was very impressive. Comparable in size to the SteepHolm on Tusker rock there are nine pieces of metal and wooden beams angling up out of the beach. This wreck can be seen from miles away. Cefn Sidan sands is a remarkable stretch of beach. It goes on and on and on for miles. There are other wrecks here tthat I have seen from a distance today. I shall return to investigate further.

S. V. Paul

Cefn Sidan Sands

1925

All souls saved

51°40’59.3″N 4°20’06.8″W

The SV Paul was grounded in 1925 on Cefn Sidan Sands. Leaving Nova Scotia in 1925, the Paul ran aground on October 30th of the same year. And whilst nobody lost their lives, the wreck of the ship itself was plundered and the cargo salvaged by locals, some of whom built fantastic houses and sheds from the expensive and exotic hardwoods they pilfered. The ‘Wreckers of Cefn Sidan’, also known as the Men of Little Hatchets were rouges that would deliberately wreck ships off the coast of Pembrey onto Cefn Sidan. Unscrupulous, the gangs would light fires that would act as beacons, beckoning in ships to false ports, where they would plunder the vessels they manage to lay waste to on the Carmarthenshire sands.

Known locally as Gwyr-y-Bwelli Bach, it was said the gangs had their own bespoke clawed hatchets that would lend themselves to all manner of debauchery, and making it easier to break into precious cargo, removing jewellery and even severing fingers from the swollen hands of Neptune’s casualties, which would allow them to remove rings.


2nd Sept ’21

I returned to Cefn Sidan Sands today to photograph the two wrecks that I found last time. They are beautiful structures laying adjacent to one another, and they were great to shoot. Conditions were again very good. I had to plan my visit around the tides and the sea but as I was only there yesterday this was an easy task as I already knew the lay of the land and where the sea would be. Same equipment as last time, same conditions as last time.

The image that I’m really excited about making is the multiple drone image inspired by Sohei Nishino. This end result will give an overview of the entirety of Tusker rock… I’m really excited about that picture.

It’s somewhat bizarre being amongst these remains. The main parts of the ships and boats have long since rotted away and all that remain are hard skeletal structures. That’s why this is so fascinating, the images are really about death; death of the ship itself… death of the people who sailed the seas. They look like skeletons jutting out of the sand.  Which essentially makes this beach a graveyard. Lives and vessels lost at sea.

Le Jeune Emma

Cefn Sidan Sands

1828

13 dead souls

51°41’34.5″N 4°20’46.0″W

Cefn Sidan Sands were treacherous to “La Jeune Emma” bound from the West Indies to France and blown badly off course in 1828. 13 of the 19 on board drowned, including Adeline Coquelin, the 12-year-old niece of Napoleon Bonaparte’s divorced wife Josephine de Beauharnais. She is buried at St. Illtyds Church, Pembrey.


6th Sept ’21

Cyanolumen experiments. These images have been made using an image of a shipwreck, printed on acetate, then printed on expired darkroom photo paper. Then, the images have been coated in cyanotype solution and solarfast, and whilst wet, exposed for a second time.


7th Sept ’21

https://www.worldseafishing.com/threads/tusker-rock-reef-shipwrecks.2014234/

I came across this forum in my research today. It is allowed me to research shipwreck locations and some of the information even supplies coordinates. There is some strong information about shipwreck history, shipwreck background and a lot of information here will fill in several blanks about the events that occurred during several shipwrecks that I am photographing. The impact that these shipwrecks have had on peoples lives, and the number of lives lost in the Bristol channel is really quite remarkable. This project is ploughing forward very nicely and is currently fulfilling its aims of bringing attention to the treacherous waters that lap around our shores every day.


8th Sept ’21

http://www.swanseadocks.co.uk/docksnewsite/contribron2.html

This is another very useful website that I have found. It lists the shipwrecks along with additional information across a large period of time. The document shows shipwrecks in places other than South Wales, so this will take a little bit of deciphering and trawling to extract the information that I need, but this is still a very worthwhile resource for me. I am aware that some of this information is coming from websites, which might not be professionally published. For every single shipwreck that I am photographing I am making sure that I cross reference any information that I garner across three or four different sources. I will only include in the exhibition, or in the accompanying book, information that has parity across several sources. This should insure that information I supply is reasonably correct.


9th Sept ’21

This book, The Rib, by David Sutcliffe, has an incredibly interesting chapter on Tusker Rock. It documents mainly two wrecks. The Henry from Liverpool and the Malany also from Liverpool. The text goes on to describe the call out from the lifeboat station and include some very emotional text from some of the survivors. It is a short chapter but what is chapter does is highlighted the importance of the RNLI. The RNLI are a vital commodity within this project the series will culminate in a series of portraits of the crew members of Porthcawl RNLI. I intend to shoot this once again on large format, in my usual formal style, to show the worth of these wonderful volunteers. I also intend to perform a group photograph of these individuals as well.


10th Sept ’21

I have always loved this image by Wolfgang Tilmans. I first saw it in Paris photo in 2019 where it was printed in large format, similar to the scale at which I will print the exhibition. The textures of the sea and the way that the movement has been frozen to portray a cold barren watery world is entirely fascinating. I want to make a picture similar to this on either 5 x 4 or 10 x 8 to show the location of Tusker rock. I will more than likely have to photograph it from Nash point, in stormy conditions. Photographing on the top of a cliff with a large format camera will probably be a particularly dangerous thing, but should I not die their results will be similar in texture to this image by Tilmans. The drama, visual impact and emotion of the sea is massively apparent in this image. It is cold, it is dark and it is full of suspense and drama. My entire project should contain these emotional factors, and an image that quite simply shows the location of Tusker rock but without showing Tusker rock I feel is a vital thing to portray.

Wolfgang Tilmans

10th Sept ’21

I came across the work of Cramer recently. And I absolutely love it. It is not related to the work that I’m currently making, in all honesty, but I feel it is worth putting in here because it is different, and wonderful. Using Photoshop to create imagery that when viewed through 3-D glasses is a true representation of three dimensions makes these images absolutely wonderful I am going to photo London to see these images, as I know they are on display there. I also wish to have a go at creating one of these images. I will utilise the colleges medium format digital camera, I already have a lovely piece of Sea Holly that would work beautifully for this process, and then I will spend probably several hours using photo shop to put together an experimental final piece. As I said, this is in no way related to this project, but it might well end up being my next project, at least in terms of process. I have several different photographic ideas, and lots of different project ideas, and one of them is probably going to work with this visual process in mind.

Later in the day:

I had a go. Shot in the studio, three hours on PS. I LOVE IT. Have a look with 3d Red/blue glasses:


11th Sept ’21

PhotoLondon visit

Myself and two friends went to photo London today. We saw a wealth of good imagery, but overall I was a little disappointed this year. I’m not sure if this is a reaction to the fact that we have been in lockdown for quite a long time but the work on show I have seen many times before and I did not feel that there was much new on offer. The main thing that I will take away from photo London this year are two pieces the first is the work that I previously mentioned in the last post by Sebastian Cramer. To see his 3-D pieces in real life was quite simply wonderful. And the second work was by Jacqueline woods, and consisted of cylindrical cyanotype’s. I really like these as they were small in form, where a very useful and appropriate way to make imagery more three-dimensional and they were quite simply pretty things.


25th Sept ’21

Rhossili recce

I took the kids to Rhossili beach and headland today, as the wreck of the shipwreck hell Viesha sits on Rhossili beach. It was nice getting the kids involved, they really enjoyed seeing the wreck, and this gave me a firm understanding of when I should visit the wreck. This project is totally dictated by tide position, appropriate weather and cloud formation. I will start looking at when these three things coincide over the next few days or weeks.


26th Sept ’21

Book – The Shipwrecked Men, by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca.


I read this incredible book around twenty years ago and I fell in love with it instantly. So I picked it up recently and with a couple of glasses of wine had a thoroughly enjoyable evening reliving this true story of the shipwrecked men. It tells the story of how a Spanish expedition explored the Florida mainland and came to grief through a raging storm on the shores of Florida. The shipwreck men then stagger, clamber across country, and through torment and will make their way to Mexico city. The main bulk of the story documents the incredible journey on foot across the vast landscape, but the story of the shipwreck and how it must have felt has been a direct influence on this project. Because of re-reading this book I have decided that there should be a section within the exhibition that tells the narrative of a sailor, or individual, being shipwrecked on Tusker rock and telling the story of their last breath.

I intend to write a narrative of a man dying on Tusker rock. I might turn this into a section that sits in the accompanying book, or if I am feeling particularly brave, I might use some of the digital imagery that I have captured to play via a projector, projected onto my body, while I verbally tell the story of this shipwrecked man to the participants of the exhibition during the launch. I’ve never done anything like that before, I imagine it will be entirely terrifying, but I think it will be a very worthwhile opener to the exhibition.


1st Oct ’21

Research – Mark Power – The Shipping Forecast

https://www.markpower.co.uk/Photographic-projects/THE-SHIPPING-FORECAST

A great concept and great context, where views of oceans and seas sit alongside social documentary in locations described by the shipping forecast. I love the way the text is all important and accompanies the images to compliment and increase context. Text will be something that is important in both the exhibition and accompanying book for my own project. The most relatable imagery in Mark Powers series are the images of the ocean. I imagine some of my own final images will have the impact that Power’s do. The black and white aesthetic texture lends itself well to the mystery of the shipping forecast, itself a rhythmic aural texture that belies the potential doom that the stormy seas can deliver on natures whim. The depth of clarity and suggestion that is apparent in Power’s images makes me feel as though I could look and see something different every time…


2nd October ’21

S A N D review – Wales arts review

https://www.walesartsreview.org/peter-britton-in-conversation-s-a-n-d/

Unrelated to this project, but following up on the S A N D content, I was recently interviewed by Wales Arts review. You can read the interview above. It was a great experience, and my change in direction to project/art photographer is starting to feel real.


3rd October ’21

Samtampa Wreck site shoot

I’m on my way back from photographing the location of the Samtampa. It was a pretty unsuccessful shoot as while the Samtampa is visible at low tide, today’s tide was nowhere near low enough. Speaking to some local fishermen they reckon that you can see the wreck on 15 meter tide… Never seen a 15 meter tide so finding this one might be somewhat difficult. That said, I have seen this wreck before. I was in this location with the kids about a year ago and I took a really lovely photograph on Polaroid of the Samtampa. It must’ve been incredibly low tide when I was there that day. I will keep an eye once again on the tides and I will make sure that the tide is as low as is possible. Today’s tide was 8 1/2 meter tide. I will have a look at the tide tables and return on at least a 10 meter tide. I made the most today though; I put the drone in the air and captured some footage of the movement of the ocean, movement of the channel, the way that the water pummels the rocks from above. Captured a couple of images with the drone as well. I also captured two test images on a 10 x 8 Camera of the edge of the land. I think the meeting point of land and sea is a very important thing as this holds an incredible amount of relevance and pertinence to this project. Because some of this project is from point of view of those who lost their lives, I decided to add some warp to today’s 10 x 8 imagery by utilising the tilt shift function that most large format cameras have. Only took two shots and I will process these images tomorrow. Overall I wouldn’t consider this a waste of time. Any shoot where you gather some imagery is always worthwhile. It was a nice gentle day with a little wind, good clouds and a warm 21° temperature. It was about a mile walk to get to where I needed to be and provided me with a useful amount of time for thought and reflection on the project so far. I think the project is going well. I seem to be achieving that which I want to achieve. The project seems to be evolving quite nicely. As I shoot more locations more ideas seem to be emerging. Yesterday I wrote a written passage of text from the viewpoint of somebody standing on tusker rock knowing that the end is nigh. Wrote this whilst I was running and I allowed my mind to wander and for thoughts to evolve within the mind of an apparition. Again I am thinking of the end result, and I’m hoping to line up an exhibition with an abandoned hotel in the middle of Newport. I’m aiming to go and meet the people who run the hotel at some point next week.

S. S. Samtampa

Sker Point

1947

47 dead souls

51°30’05.8″N 3°44’57.5″W

The SS Samtampa ran aground at Sker Point, a headland in Porthcawl, on 23 April 1947 after attempting to sail through a force 11 gale. All 39 members of crew died along with eight lifeboat rescuers sent from Mumbles, Swansea.


6th Oct – Westgate Hotel venue visit

I’ve just got back from visiting the Westgate hotel. This venue is a derelict hotel, run and serviced by Newport County Borough Council. It is absolutely wonderful. I went there to have a look to see if it is suitable as the exhibition venue, and I am super happy to say that it is perfect. There is a pub area downstairs where I will do welcome drinks and an opening to the exhibition and upstairs there is an a perfect great hall where I will hang the work. Light is going to be very difficult as the launch evening will happen at night and there is no light in the building. This will be a major consideration for making the exhibition work. Downstairs I will put table lamps and candles, while upstairs I will have to source some professional standard gallery lighting. But the space is amazing. It is grubby it is neglected, it is dirty, and it is perfect.


8th Oct ’21

Martin Parr foundation – meeting Martin Parr

I went to the Martin Parr foundation today. I went to have a look around and to meet Martin Parr. I sat with him for several hours and we talked about his practice, his work, his life and his goals in photography. He was a unique individual, and had very forthright opinions on the state of photography, stating that photography is dying and that my students wouldn’t make it as photographers, but he was still a remarkable individual. He was very kind, and very accommodating in how he spent his time with me. I discussed my project idea with him and elaborated on how I’ve been shooting so far, and he seemed genuinely impressed. I talked about future projects with him and he again was very receptive to my ideas and thoughts. I had a tour of the library in the foundation and was allowed to sit and pluck any book that I wanted. We found ourselves immersed in conversation about Trent Parkes and I have come away from the experience full of admiration and warmth and with a greater understanding of where this project is going from a professional point of view.

Research – Found newspaper article/image

I’ve just found the above on Facebook. An unrelated individual posted this picture on Facebook. It shows the three sections of the Sam temper wreck. This is a wreck which I will be photographing and investigating visually. While there is hardly any wreck left on the shore, and most of the wreck has now been washed away, as this tragedy occurred in 1947, it is still remarkable to see the scale of the ship. The ship broke apart due to cost cutting measures in boatbuilding at the time. The ship was built in three parts and riveted together. The rivets failed and the ship ran aground and sank.


9th Oct 21

Royal Photographic Society Bristol exhbition


10th October ’21

I had the most amazing email from the National Museum of Wales today:

Dear Peter,

First of all, apologies for not getting back to you sooner regarding your enquiry below. Your exhibition proposal was well received and we’d like to know further information about it in order to assess it properly. I have attached our Exhibitions proposal form – if you could complete as much of that as possible that would be really helpful in us looking at the proposal further (don’t worry about completing all the boxes). Specifically though, we would like to know the following:

  • How big is it? / What’s the footprint?
  • What stage are you at?
  • What type of support are you looking for?
  • How many images will you be producing?
  • When were you hoping to have an exhibition?

Best wishes

Melanie Williams

Exhibitions Administrator|Gweinyddwr Arddangosfeydd

Amgueddfa Cymru- National Museum Wales

HERE is my response form:


12th October ’21

Research – Susan Derges

Derges work looks at the relationship between the self and nature. She is best known for her technique of capturing the movement of water by immersing photographic paper directly into rivers or shorelines.  The work she makes is both traditional in method and contemporary in design. I really appreciate the way that Susan Derges work is totally non-traditional in its visual aesthetic. The way it looks has a striking affect on me, and I can very much relate this to work from my previous project, send. What I can mainly take away from looking at Derges work is the watery affect that I would like to emulate in my cyanotype glass gelatin pieces. It is absolutely vital that the gelatin pieces look like the surface of the sea. I will attempt to do this in different ways. Firstly, I will photograph the sea with my drone from above. I will then print these images as negatives on acetate and transfer the images via the traditional sanitised process but onto glass with gelatin as a mixing medium. The other method is to try Susan Derrges technique by submerging the glass cyanotype‘s in freezing cold water and flashing a bright burst of light via a flashgun. I will try both methods to work out which looks best.


13th Oct ’21

Book – Moby Dick

I have long had favourite books. Moby Dick has always been in my top five. Not entirely sure what to say about it, thanks Frank but it is one of the most emotive, vibrant, and well described stories I have ever laid eyes on. This afternoon I pick the book up and just read a few chapters. A few of my favourite parts. Below are some sections that ring through with my project in mind.

“In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely and without a passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers.”

“Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure. Consider also the devilish brilliance and beauty of many of its most remorseless tribes, as the dainty embellished shape of many species of sharks. Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began.

Consider all this; and then turn to the green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half-known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!”


― Herman Melville, Moby Dick


14th Oct ’21

Research – Dipina tsa Kganya: Leave the light when you leave for good – Lebohang Kganye

http://www.bristolphotofestival.org/dipina-tsa-kganya-leave-the-light-when-you-leave-for-good-lebohang-kganye/

The lighthouse… It reminds me of Whiteford Sands.


14th October ’21

Sound considerations

I have been considering the exhibition, and I want to have two sound areas. One will be an accompanying sound installation of diegetic sounds, and the other will be sound for the video element. I recently visited nash point lighthouse, and persuaded them to sound the fog horn for me. The fog horn has not been activated for years, so there was a lot of red tape to go through.

https://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/lighthouse-visitor-centres/nash-point-lighthouse-visitors-centre


15th Oct ’21

Nash Point shoot – B P Driver

I’ve been down to Nash point. Today I wanted to capture some drone footage of the wave cut platforms of the cliffs and of the environment where many shipwrecks have taken place. As I got to the location it was absolutely bucketing it down with rain but once I got out the car the skies cleared and the conditions were once again perfect. Meandering down the cliffs from the car park with my drone, my digital SLR and my large format 5 x 4 camera, I negotiated along the platforms to the east of the car park was there I captured several minutes worth of drone footage of the waves the rocks and the platforms. I then proceeded to take a few images of the cliff face on large format. I then packed up my gear and negotiated along the rocks to the west of the car park where I photographed the cliff face as this is where a very well known wreck occurred (BP Driver). I’m looking forward to processing the imagery as these pictures should end up being reasonably exciting. It was really warm and there was not a soul about and I’m finding this project very worthwhile. It’s heavy work, but incredibly rewarding. I’m photographing very quiet locations by myself under controlled conditions, working with tides and whether, to produce a body of work that I am becoming very proud of.


Oct 15th ’21

Research – Thomas Moran

Thomas Moran’s art is generally of the sea. I have a print of one of his paintings in my house, on my wall in my living room. I love the turmoil of the shipwreck in this main image. I love the way the sea rises and falls around the shipwrecked man, and the moon light that shines down on the impending doom. The colour, or lack of, in this image draws you in analyse depth of clarity and context to reveal itself. The texture of the sea I find is very similar to some of the textures that I’m capturing with my large format camera. The motion of the waves and the way that the sea looks totally terrifying is something that I definitely wish to capture in my own imagery. The scale of water rising throughout Thomas Moran’s paintings shows just how treacherous our seas are. My entire project is based on tides and the rise and fall of the ocean, which is what these paintings depict. They show the frailty of man amongst the waves.

Research – Simon Kenny

https://www.simonkennyart.com/about

There is something about the textual quality of Simon Kenny‘s work that draws me in. A lot of what I am dealing with is based on texture in my own imagery. Texture of the sand text with the sea texture of the decaying rex that I am photographing. Texture is an all important thing within my study. And whilst Simon Kenny‘s work does not exactly relate to landscape or people that work still resonates with me as the explosions of colour visually represent the explosions of the waves as they crash on the shore. There is a precise link to these bursts and flashes of texture that relate directly to the way the sea boils and roils. 

Research – Nadav Kander – Dark Line

https://www.nadavkander.com/works-in-series/dark-line-the-thames-estuary/single#11

https://www.flowersgallery.com/exhibitions/41-nadav-kander-dark-line-the-thames-estuary/

https://www.nadavkander.com/exhibitions/dark-line-the-thames-estuary

In a recent conversation with Nick I was reminded to have a look at the work of Nadav Kander. The work is very relatable to my study in particular his dark line work – images of water and horizons reflect some of my imagery. But the most important thing that I can take away from this is the way that Kander displayed some of the work in his exhibition. I have noticed that some of his work is displayed in black rectangular 1 m high boxes. This totally supersedes my idea of tables or barrels as a method of displaying the duratrans glass cyanotype pieces. These black boxes look wonderful. And they are the perfect method for displaying the cyanotype shipwreck work. I intend to make these myself, slowly over the coming next few weeks. I am not particularly handy when it comes to woodwork, to be honest, but I have an absolute desire to make these pieces. I really need to save some money on these, so I will be sourcing offcuts of MDF and will be glueing the pieces together. My neighbour has the appropriate saw for cutting the 45° angles necessary to create these boxes and I will be glueing small strips of wood panelling on which both the lights the duratrans and the cyanotype will sit. This is most certainly the correct method for showing the same take pieces in the exhibition. I also very much like the way that Kander frames his images in the exhibition a simple black frame with no mount and large format imagery looks stunning. I will not use this for the Westgate Hotel exhibition, but I will definitely use this when the work goes to the museum. This will make the work safe on the walls and can be screwed in place. I have taken so much from candour in relation to methods of display.


17th Oct ’21

Tusker Research – visit to the Imperial War Museum. An exciting day, visiting the war museum to discover reserach.

Findings:

Tusker is a Plateau type of off shore reef of carboniferous lime stone that is positioned one mile South East of Porthcawl point in the shoal [shallow] waters of the North Bristol channel. Countless vessels have come to grief in this area since mankind used the seas as a method of transport. Here follows a selection of those documented in records from the past.

Some of the earliest records are noted in the writings of Elizabeth Young in an extract from a Christian experience. It lists her husband’s attempt to recover cargo from the Sloop Ann and Teresa that was wrecked on the rock in the late seventeenth century. Following that event and the better keeping of records, the following catalogue of Death and Disaster at this lonely eerie place is compiled.

18th of May 1829 the Barque Lydia wrecked on Tuskar. November 1847 the Barque Henry of Liverpool in Ballast en route to Cardiff was wrecked upon the rock. She had a crew compliment of 19 of which 18 of the crew were rescued by another vessel. One crew man was unfortunately lost. Again, November 1847 another disaster took place. The Leith Packet carrying iron, she foundered on the rock and the crew were saved. It is said that in 1853 a warning beacon was erected on the Tuskar, and there has been much speculation and conjecture over this as to whether this is fact or myth. In November of 1865 a vessel was seen in distress on Tuskar flying distress signals, earlier that year the RNLI had stationed a lifeboat (the Good Deliverance) at the expanding dock in Porthcawl. This was launched and found the Vessel the Argo of Fayal abandoned and stuck on the rock.

On the 3rd March 1884 the Ketch Caroline hit tusker, and on October the 15th in 1886 a great battle for survival took place that ended in tragedy, when the 204 ft long iron ship Malley was driven back up the Bristol channel by a violent storm. The iron sailing vessel Malleny had left Cardiff a number of days before loaded with a cargo of coal destined for Rio De Janeiro, she had been towed down channel to the west of Lundy island ,where the steam tug left her. Soon after this unknown to all, the remnants of an Atlantic hurricane was approaching the shores of Britain. Many vessels were at the mercy of this violent storm and information of her plight failed reach rescuers at Porthcawl as the telegraph cables had been blown down over large areas of South Wales. By the time lifeboatmen were aware the Malleny was past Porthcawl and only minutes from disaster. During this Storm the Porthcawl Breakwater that today features in many weather reports had a large section of its upper structure damaged and washed away by the weather conditions on that night. The lifeboat men were prepared to launch but stopped by officials as it would have been a suicide mission. The Malleny and the crew of twenty encountered the approaching storm and were driven out of control back up the channel, the storm then reached hurricane force and propelled the ship before it, until she was pounded onto the rocks of the Tusker. The boat foundered until it was smashed into pieces. Parts of it and the bodies of the crew being cast up along the shore for a number of miles up channel. All of the crew of twenty souls were lost. Many of them now lie in Graves in the local church yards with Memorial stones erected from public donations raised soon after the event.

During the late 1970s with the increase of water sports Newton Bay Porthcawl became very popular for water skiing, at low water metal plates of the Malleny were just visible and these proved a serious danger to pleasure vessels and people engaged in water skiing. After a year’s work and adverts in the London Gazette [a legal paper], the Porthcawl council with help of the Army engineering training college at Chepstow blew the remaining part of the ships hull up. There was no doubt that the vessel was carrying coal as the local beaches were strewn with coal dust on the following tide. The plates of her once mighty iron hull now lie flat on the bed in the shallow waters of Newton bay just a stones throw from the reef that tore the hull apart. Then in Sept 1888 the Ketch Auspicious ran aground on Tuskar, this was aided off the rock but later sank.

On Sept 15th 1944 the American tug ST672 belonging to the American Government was towing a smaller tug and at 10.10 it was reported that the larger vessel had grounded on Tuskar rock, the smaller vessel cast off its lines and made it clear of the rock. The weather was SE 2/3 and the tide had been going out for 3 hours, an air sea rescue launch of the RAF was dispatched and reported that the tugs crew wished to stay on board in order to refloat on the next tide. The rescue launch and the smaller tug made to Porthcawl and anchored off. During the day the weather deteriorated and Mumbles lifeboat was called to stand by, as the tide flooded the grounded tug rolled over and slipped off the rock and sank, in the worsening weather the crew of twelve took to small boats and abandoned the tug, by this time the wind was now W.S.W. Mumble lifeboat was in the area looking for the men in small boats. This time two crew of the Raf launch rowed out to the launch in a small tender, but this capsized and cast the two into the water then attempting to swim to shore. The smaller tug at anchor slipped its lines and attempted to help. Coastguards were called to help with the crew of the Tug adrift in the east near tusker and men in the water near the pier, the smaller tug then suffered failure of both engines and also became a casualty as it ran aground on a nearby beach. By this time one of the Raf launch crew had made the shore and one had drowned… the crew of the tug on the beach were aided by the coastguards and made it ashore. The crew off the tug sunk on Tuskar now battled worsening weather as the approached they shore; eight men were pulled from the sea alive but four drowned.

On April 4th 1956 the sailing vessel Windermere bound for Dublin ran aground on Tuskar. This was aided by the Raf rescue launch based at Porthcawl and the Mumbles lifeboat. Windermere refloated and made its way to Swansea docks for repairs. On October 3RD 1968 sand dredger Stepholm in thick weather and near gale force winds ran on to Tuskar Rock. The Mumbles lifeboat was launched to the ships aid, the Steepholm’s crew took to the life rafts while the Captain stayed on board to operate the wireless to help their rescue. Also, the Porthcawl inshore lifeboat launched to assist. Mumbles lifeboat found the liferaft with the ship’s crew and picked them up, then proceeding to rescue the ships captain who is still on board. With waves now washing across the ships decks the Mumbles lifeboat ran his bows up on the Stenholm’s deck and the captain jumped off the bridge on to the lifeboats deck. The next wave washed the lifeboat back off the ship and the rescue was complete.


19th Oct ’21

Research – Naviomics app

I downloaded this application on my phone today. It is a topographic and map based app that allows you to search for shipwrecks and other underwater hazards.

I was given the source by one of my contacts in the RNLI RNLI and whilst not incredibly useful it is still somewhat eye-opening.


20th Oct ’21

Research – William Brown

http://william-brown-bzhc.squarespace.com

The colony – sound considerations for ghost ships moving image piece:

https://www.artangel.org.uk/project/the-colony/

I have been directed to a piece of moving image called the colony. The considerations of sound and the drone work in this piece of moving image are incredibly inspirational. The bleakness of the piece visually in combination with the stark sound of sea life, birds and crashing waves are exactly where my audio installation needs to sit. I can draw from this by considering the drone work in my image-based installation, and in my moving image piece insulation but the most inspiration I can take from this is for the audio accompaniment that will play in the great hall alongside the large format imagery. I intend to record the sounds of the Sea and use the Lighthouse recording along with some snippets of music and sea-based audio to add an extra layer of depth to the space.

Tusker ‘street view’:

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4540471,-3.6662901,3a,87.6y,213.72h,67.66t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sAF1QipN_b0iIDYHotd0FOKQ0hwzhMs-qcdDs7i3rtCdd!2e10!3e12!7i11668!8i5834

This is cool. Found this on a quick Google today. Turns out that Tesco Rock is on Google Street view. I actually quite like this, because it gives the general public a head height viewpoint of one of the most amazing locations that I’ve ever visited. Have a look. It will give you an insight into the feel about Tusker rock.


21st Oct ’21

Research – Maya Rochat

http://www.mayarochat.com

My interpretation of Tusker Rock via the influence of Maya Rochat:

I’ve decided to try something different today. I previously had a go at a Maya Rochat representation. And this is my result. It shows an image of a shipwreck on Tesco rock printed via both cyanotype and lumen printing. The image is layered into hearts, with the bottom part being a cyanolumen of the texture of the rock with the top part being a cyanolumen of the shipwreck from above via a drone image I have added solo fast colour to add a splash of vibrancy. Whilst this won’t end up as a piece in the exhibition, I really like it and it will certainly end up on my wall at home.


21st Oct ’21

I’m eager to get back to Tusker Rock. I have plans for shore shoots and the next Tusker shoot:

To shoot:

Nash Point – drone

Morfa

Samtampa wreck site

Nash point light house

Rhosslili

Sea from above

Current lifeboat crew

Sea edge 10×8 Thomas Joshua Cooper

Underwater looking up images

Gravestones

Cyanlumens of the rock

10×8 from Penarth Pier – a la Tillmans

2nd Tusker visit:

Pinhole 5×4

Drone shot from centre of rock gradually moving up and out, like Sohei Nishino

Taking the drone over the other side

Drone shots of the rock straight down

10×8 imagery of where the sea meets the rock.


22nd Oct ’21

Confirmation of exhibition in National Waterfront Museum Swansea


25th Oct ’21

Presentation to Museums Board

I presented ‘Ghost ships and tides’ to members of the museums exhibition board today (terrifying and amazing) and they have decided to potentially showcase it at THREE of their venues. It’s definitely going to start in 2023 in the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea (I’m so chuffed with that – I take the kids there all the time), then should I receive strong feedback they would look to put it in National Museum Wales (Cardiff) in 2024 and finally St. Fagans would be an option too.


26th Oct ’21

Research – Vertigo Sea, John Akomfrah

https://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/exhibition/john-akomfrah-vertigo-sea/

I took the kids to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff today. Inspired by yesterday‘s meeting I wanted to be back in the space, so I took the kids. As we were walking around I stumbled on a try screen video called vertigo sea. 

It was amazing. Images of people, landscape, underwater and of the sea itself was spread across three projected screens and I was blown away. The audio soundtrack of music and ambient, diagetic sound overlaid perfectly with the try screen imagery to offer a wonderful narrative that draws on Moby Dick and Whale nation to interpret our natural world. The work is both harrowing and inspiring, which is exactly what I want my project to be. I want people to look at my work, both the imagery and the videos, and to feel haunted but inspired. Myself and my kids sat and watched the entire thing from start to end and all three of us were totally focused and fascinated on these three screens. I have seen try screen films before, but I’ve never been so absorbed. I intend to make my final moving image piece work across three screens, as I have been directly influenced by vertigo sea. 


26th Oct ’21

Tusker doodle

Research:

Peter Hebeisen – battlefields now landscapes

Joel Sternfeld – on this site

Aletheia Casey

Today I research the work of the three above photographers. Hebeisens work is visually a little bit and inspiring, but the narrative behind this work is of inspirational use as it interprets battlefield city become open and varied landscapes. Similar in style is Sternfeld work but the work I have most connected with today is that of Casey. I am a bit of a sucker for any photographic work that looks a little bit different to the norm. Casey’s work offers an artistic viewpoint, and an alternative viewpoint on things that we might see every day. The depth of narrative and variety of visual style across her Projects is wonderful and her visual working methods really makes her work standout from an oversaturated crowd. For me the imagery is a great example of the fact that stories, narrative and an alternative visual style are very important for me as a photographer. The images are dark yet full of colour, overworked yet full of meaning but have a distinct style in their own right.


27th Oct – Shoot – 10×8 Sea – Nash Point

Visited Nash point again today to shoot drone video, 10×8 sea image and sea video footage. It was too windy and wild for drone. I just captured a few shots. Knackered today. Work and homelife are currently stressful. Work is busy. Home is… unknown.


31st October – Shoot – Rhossili

Oh wow. Just got back from photographing the wreck on Rhossili Bay Beach and it was totally wonderful. Drizzle ripped from the sky when I arrived at the beach but this did not dampen my enthusiasm for the shoot. Wonderfully today was a very short walk to the wreck. It was only about half a mile down the beach to get to the wreck, when I got there the drizzle had abated just enough for me to put the drone in the air to capture some footage. The footage that I have captured with drone today is some of the standout footage for the moving image piece. Some of the drone imagery that I’ve captured today is also going to be very much prominent within the slideshow opening narrative piece that I intend to deliver at the start of the exhibition. Then the drizzle started again, so I put the drone away and got my large format camera out. I took two large format photographs of the wreck and then with my drone once again in the air captured some very worthwhile shots of the surrounding area and cliffs. Then, it absolutely proved it down. Out of all the miles I have walked, the fact that this was only a half mile walk suddenly went out the window and the walk back to the car tending to the worst one yet. I was frozen to the bone and soaked to the skin, like one of the sailors wrecked upon Tosca rock. But, unlike a wrecked sailor I was able to go to the nearest café for a deliciously hot coffee and a sausage roll. A great shoot.

Helvetia

Rhossili

1887

All souls saved

51°34’25.0″N 4°17’26.6″W

On the evening of the 31st October 1887 the Helvetia arrived off the coast at Mumbles. By eight o’clock the following morning the wind had strengthened considerably and was reaching gale force levels. The Helvetia now found herself perilously close to the infamous Helwick sand bank off Mumbles. As the wind grew stronger still she was driven across the bank, losing a substantial part of her deck load in the process. Fortunately the crew were able to keep the ship from further damage and rode the waves around Worms Head and into the relative shelter of Rhossili Bay. Here they were able to drop anchor and wait for the weather to improve. A few hours later the wind suddenly changed direction, ripping the anchor free of the sands and driving the Helvetia onto of Rhossili beach.

The next day the beach was awash with the remains of the 500 tonnes of timber cargo that had formerly resided aboard the Helvetia. The ship herself was stranded where she has now lain for the past 122 years.


1st November – Shoot – Nash point 10 x 8

Today I went to Nash point. I stood on top of the enormous cliffs in 40 mph winds. It was an entirely terrifying experience as I had my 5 x 4 large format camera with me. I was attempting to capture a shot of the boy and the storm ravaged waves from a high perspective. Relating this image directly to Wolfgang Tillmans work I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve. The problem was howling gales, rain, and a large format camera are not regularly things that mix well. Because of the wind I had to make sure I was using my maximum 5 hundredths of a second shutter speed  which meant that I had to push my Ilford FP4 film in processing. I took the digital camera as well to capture some movement and motion of the waves. The video pieces that I am working towards are also coming together very nicely. Having braved these treacherous conditions with my ridiculous camera I’m actually very happy with the result.


3rd Nov ’21 – Research – Jack Lowe – The Lifeboat Station Project

I’ve known about the lifeboat station project for a very long time, as it is a project that I am very much connected with due to the fact that it is a wet plate project. Jack Lowe, son of Dad’s Army actor Arthur Lowe, has been photographing lifeboats, crewmembers and the lifeboat environment for many years and his resulting, ongoing project is fascinating and wonderful, with a strong visual aesthetic. Part of my project will be to photograph the members of Porthcawl RNLI so I can very much draw from and take away inspiration from Jack Lowes portrait work. When I come to shoot the portraits the backgrounds will be similar to Lowe’s and the environment will feel much the same. I intend to shoot the portraits across one single afternoon, as there are approximately 20 people to organise and photograph. If I can photograph them all in one go then this will benefit the people involved and make their lives easier.


5th Nov 21 – Research – The Maid of Harlech

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/nov/12/ww2-wreck-of-fighter-plane-off-welsh-coast-gets-protected-status

Ronald Lowe:

I stayed in an Airbnb this weekend. The owner had an original Ronald Lowe on the wall. I could not take my eyes off it. The motion, zoom, movement and perspective in this painting blew my mind. Having been introduced to Ronald Lowe within this module, and having fallen in love with his work, it was a totally wonderful thing to suddenly stumble upon a real life low, unexpectedly in front of me. The textures and colours drew me in, I found myself totally lost in the landscape. I really hope that when people look at my work they too will stop, look, and linger and truly appreciate any emotion of waves, swirl of cloud and skeletal remains of the Rex that might allow my viewers to become absorbed in the work. This, I sincerely hope.

Research:


8th Nov ’21 – Shoot Morfa beach – the wreck of the amazon

I’ve just been to shoot the Amazon down Morfa Beach and I was blown away by it. I somehow managed to leave the best for last. It was an enormous wreck with a beautiful skeletal structure with the imposing industrial landscape of Port Talbot steelworks looming in the background. It was amazing. It was a difficult shoot. With an 8 mile round journey, a large format camera, large format negative carriers, a digital SLR and a sturdy tripod in tow these shoots are proving to be exhausting. It is a totally knackering thing to carry all of this equipment over 8 miles in the middle of which you have the absolute focus of a photo shoot.
I also took the drone today but I did not put it in the air for fear of Tata steel apprehending me and me getting into trouble. There is a precedent in this area for photographers having their equipment confiscated and for being escorted from the beach. A friend of mine (another Peter) had to take Tata steel to Court a few years ago as he photographed a wave from the sea with the structure of the steel works in the background. Because the structure of the steel works was within his image Tata steel deemed the image to belong to them. It cost Pete thousands to take it to the courts but he won the case and ended up with about 500 quid in his pocket. Not particularly worthwhile but it does show how Tata steel deal with photographers. They claim the beach in front of the steelworks where the Amazon lies belongs to them.

Therein lies the problem with putting the drone in the air… I was afraid of being  stopped for trespassing and for potentially being considered a spy by having a drone in the air. Where there is this president for concern, in truth nothing happened and when I reached the Amazon, as I have said, I was blown away by the shape, scale and beauty of the wreck. This is the last shipwreck that I will visit for this project as it is the last one across the area that I am investigating and I really have ended on a high. I hope… I messed up two of my large format exposures. I was supposed to be photographing on F.64, but whilst setting my exposure values and gaining focus for two of the images I left the aperture wide open at F5 .6.  Amazing how much can go wrong when you photograph on large format film. But I had six photographs that I was capable of taking so I restart and hopefully there will be one which I’m happy with. There should be. The wreck looked incredible.

S.S. Amazon

Margam Sands

1908

20 dead souls

51°34’05.0″N 3°47’33.2″W

The four-masted Barque S.S. Amazon was driven onto Margam Sands in a severe gale. The ship broke up with loss of 20 of her 28 crew. The four-masted sailing vessel Amazon, laden with 2,000 tons of coal and bound for Iquique, was driven ashore on Margam Sands and battered to pieces in the presence of hundreds of helpless spectators.


I have also started sending out invitations to the exhibition… See email proforma below:


9th Nov – Research – Nash Point

https://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/en/enjoying/Coast-and-Countryside/Heritage-Coast/Nash-Point.aspx

Worthwhile reading, additional information for shipwreck descriptions…


10th Nov – Research – Yousef Karsh “Ernest Hemmingway’

I had to include this image, for obvious reasons. The image is of Ernest Hemingway,

Whom Kaash photographed in Cuba in 1957.

The man in the image looks battered but strong. The way he looks up out of the frame implies both strength and abashment. He resembles someone at sea with the sub-mariners rollneck jumper and grey beard. It’s a strong portrait, traditionally but beautifully lit that shows an incredible depth of human emotion.

Shoot 10th Nov ’21

Black Rocks Porthcawl

Black rocks, Porthcawl. This is where planters well barred came to rest in 1770. I took my large format camera my drone my digital SLR here today and, as this location is in Porthcawl it was once again another easy one. I put the drone in the air and captured several minutes worth of worthwhile video footage, captured some imagery from the drone and then position myself to take four large format images. This is a beautiful location, and one that I have always known from my childhood. At low Tide pinnacles and pillars of rock jet skyward from the wave cut platform, and pointed to the sky. At high tide the structures are Hidden Denise the waves, and have long been treacherous for passing ships. At low tide, are used to play hide and seek around these incredible structures with my sister and with my friends, and it was a remarkable experience to visit them today with my cameras. I take the kids down here regularly and we practice rock climbing, bouldering and we play amongst these pillars that look to the sky. I would love one day to be able to snorkel, or scuba around these rocks, just to see how they look from below the surface of the sea. But that is a dream, as it is far too treacherous and undertaking. I really enjoyed this shoot today, as I have links to my own history and have now a greater understanding of the planters wreck that occurred here so long ago.

Planters Welvard

Newton Point

1770

15 dead souls

51°28’25.7″N 3°40’40.4″W

On 3rd June the ship “Planters Welvard”, on passage from Surinam to the Netherlands, was blown off course and into the Bristol Channel where she was blown ashore at Newton Point, in Porthcawl. Fifteen crew and passengers perished, including three children who were on their way to school in the Netherlands. The cargo of coffee, cocoa and cotton was plundered by the locals. The victims of this shipwreck were buried in Newton graveyard.

Research:

https://rnli.org/about-us/our-history/timeline/1981-penlee-lifeboat-disaster


11th Nov – recce at RNLI Porthcawl

I was given a tour of Porthcawl RNLI lifeboat station this morning, by the man who took me out to Tosca rock, Ross Martin. I had a look for potential backgrounds for the portrait shoot and had a look at where light would be on the day. My main concern is a lack of light. I don’t particularly want to add light artificially when I shoot, the only film I have is 100 ISO. I cannot afford to buy another box of film, so I must use my 100 ISO Ilford film. This makes things tricky as I don’t want to add light but cannot increase my ISO. I will see what happens on the day but I might have to end up photographing outside. We’ll see. All in all a very worthwhile look around the station.


14th Nov 21′ – Shoot – RNLI Crewmembers

I photographed the crewmembers today. I arrived early, set up my large format camera and proceeded to photograph all of the crewmembers outside, as the inside was too dimly lit. Have a really lovely experience, as everybody in gauged with the camera format, I was asked a multitude of questions about large format photography and I thoroughly enjoyed capturing everybody’s portrait. After the portraits had been taken, I put the drone in the air and captured a little bit of video footage as the RNLI went about a training exercise. For the conclusion of the video piece, I intend to finish with the footage of the RNLI. They are the conclusion and the reason for this project. They took me to Tesco rock, they’ve allowed this project to progress and have been entirely forthcoming in helping this project become a realisation. Within the moving image piece, the tri-screen video, it will end with a visual appreciation of the RNLI. They are the reason why lives are saved at sea. This project is all about death from history, and it should conclude with the life that is saved.


Research – Vija Celmins

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/vija-celmins-2731

Pictures of the sea… I can relate.


20th Nov – process – Cyanotype glass installations

Today I tried a gelatin pour on a large piece of glass. I am only intending on making for cyano trans-pieces. But I know that this is going to be one of the most difficult photographic process says I’ve ever tried to perfect. I’ve decided to call this process of layering a durable trends image underneath a gelatin glass cyanotype cyano trans. The pour went well, and will dry overnight.


20th Nov – research – Adam Jeppesen

http://www.adamjeppesen.com/

I first saw Jeppesen’s work in a gallery in London two years ago. He creates Santa types on cloth and material and then suspends them in oil in glass cases. Visually they are very striking and fascinating things to see firsthand. I’m not sure I would call them photographs but as they are cyanotype based they definitely sit and fit within our photographic medium. 

Herman Eschke

http://www.artnet.com/artists/hermann-eschke/

Fyrtårn. Fuldmåne. Skotslands sydkyst, 1880–1880

Awioska Van Der Molen

Exhibition structure influence:

Again this exhibition structure is my direct link to how my exhibition is going to look I love the look of these large format images simply suspended. I hope that in the exhibition the large format work that I will be showing will move and swish and sway as people walk by. 

4th December ’21

Cyan/duratrans lightbox making process:

Over the last few days I have been making the light boxes. I’ve had a Little help from my friend next door who has helped cut the angles, but to be honest I am incredibly proud of these structures. I’ve never made anything like this before and I am so happy with the way that they look. I ended up sticking foil inside to draw up a little more light, and now that they are painted black I’m very happy with how professional they look and how study they are.

These should look absolutely wonderful in the exhibition and our going to be a standout feature as you walk around the room.

SHOOT – RNLI DRONE

I went down to the RNLI lifeboat station in Porthcawl again today to once again put the drone in the air whilst the crewmembers undertook a training exercise. It was really exciting to put the drone in the air whilst this exercise was taking place as they pushed the limits of the boats and demonstrated just how manoeuvrable these boats can be in the water. I raced the drone alongside the boats, and hovered in the air performing rise shots and reveal shots that I am really happy with. Again the notion behind photographing Dana lie is that they are, ultimately, the culmination of this project. They are the reason and they are the conclusion. I got back in the car incredibly happy. It was also really nice to go on a shoot with just one small camera, instead of a multitude of cameras strategically strapped about my person.


SHOOT – WAVES 4th December

Text idea:

I want to include a narrative opening to the exhibition… Something along the lines of:

Imagine. It’s 1882. Your clothes are heavy and soaked. Rain and gale force winds pummel you from every direction. You’re standing on a rock in the middle of the Bristol Channel. Tusker rock. The ship you were on has run aground. 

. . 

If the waves don’t take you, then in ten minutes the rock you are on will be sealed by the rising tide. 

You’ll float.

For a time. 

You’re dead

The tide rises

You’re dead

They they stand on this rock I know but those I feel most about play safe in their beds. As the wind rose in my ears and the waves come all my sudden clothes and Bonnie people I lovely sleeping. I know that I too will sleep very soon. But he’s not asleep so desire. The sleep that I desire is with you. I’ve never told you that. I want to spend my days with you I want to lie down the end of every day and cool into you. I want my waking moment to be in your arms with your hair great Dover my body and my hands my arms my legs and golf in you. As I stand here I think about all that I have done, all that I received, and all that I should have done I think about that which I should’ve said to you. 

We have but one life I realise that now we have got one body and mine is about to fail did nothing I can do about that it is dark the sky is heavy with rain here moves so fast around me the water beckons but I will resist until the very last moment in my ears are screams screams of my friends screams of the dying. And all I can think about is you…


6th December ’21

Pinhole scans

During the first five or six shoots for this project, I took my pinhole camera with me loaded with transparency film. I was unsure as to the best method of capture for this project so I decided that I would overshoot across different formats to see which works best. The pinhole imagery has a very strong visual aesthetic, but did not sit correctly within the context of the work. That said they will make a worthwhile additional, accompanying hand in come submission day and I have decided that they will form part of the handing, almost purely because they exist.

Meeting 2 Westgate Hotel

I’ve just got back from visiting the Westgate hotel once again, for a second look around. I already have a really strong idea about how I will structure the large format imagery across the great hall. I did originally intend to have tunnels of large format imagery but light in this venue is scarce, it is therefore a problem. I will need to utilise mainly large flood lights two illuminate the work, which means that I will need space to allow the light in. This does unfortunately mean that the tunnels of large format imagery idea has gone out the window. The exhibition should still look fabulous, as I am utilising the wonderful impact of scale to help demonstrate the impact of my imagery. Heat is also going to be a problem, as this is a derelict, abandoned hotel there is no heating. There is running water, there are toilet facilities, but heat is not an option. I have decided to hire two propane heaters, that I will fire up on the day of the exhibition to flood the entire space with heat. We have these items in work, so there is no extra cost for myself, barring the cost of gas, which will be on me. I’ve also decided that on arrival during the launch evening there will be a glass of something cold and bubbly for everybody, and that the bar will be stocked and licensed. I intend this exhibition to be different. It is not a white walls gallery space, it is a dusty, dirty, downtrodden old hotel. The room itself is very grand, but the juxtaposition of decay will really offset the large format imagery. I’m really excited about how different this venue is from a white walls gallery. I cannot wait for the launch evening, to deliver the storytelling narrative, to see peoples reactions to the work, and to Premiere the try screen video piece. This is one of the most exciting things that I’ve ever done. 


7th December ’21

FINAL NARRATIVE FOR OPENING:

It was 1882.

It was the year that I died.

I was killed by a rock.

I was killed by a reef.

I was killed by the sea.

I was swamped by waves and water and under I went into the flow and pull of the great tide.

I left behind two beautiful souls.

I left behind another soul, in whose presence I rejoice.

The night I died, the wind was high and the waves were wild. A storm blew in from the south. We lost our way. I couldn’t see the bow of the boat. Waves lashed at my face, rain soaked my skin and drenched my clothes. The sea roiled in a seething mass of foamy spume. And the boat struck the reef. We hit Tusker Rock. 

The boat groaned, I was thrown forward, my chest hit hard a cleat. And I fell from the boat. I landed hard on something sharp and dark. The rock. It was beneath me. Blood poured from my arms, my legs, my hands; the rock so razor sharp. The boat boomed against the black rock. It creaked and tore as the waves pounded it against the reef. I got to my feet and I clambered away from its hulking bulk; I was afraid of being crushed. The wind and the waves were everywhere. They became my world. The wind howled around my ears and I could not hear. The waves roared around my body and I was so cold that I could not feel. I slipped, tripped, slithered and slid across the razor rocks beneath me. With every fall the rock opened my skin and I bled red, red, red. I heard the boat groan again as it was wrenched from the rock and swept away. I knew not what to do. I heard the screams of my crewmates. The dark and wind and the waves were my world.

And the waters rose.

I stood upon the rock only to be knocked over, over, over and over again. The waves tried to wash me into the sea. I clung on with wrecked hands to the rocks, all the while the sea tried to drag me out. My knees tore, I felt bone meet rock. Two hard surfaces competing with one another for grip. All was heavy. Heavy clothes. Heavy waves. Heavy wind. My heart was so heavy, so heavy with the weight of doom that loomed overhead. So I pulled myself up, I pulled up my collar and I faced the cold, on my own. The rock mocked me beneath my heavy feet. And around me my crewmates, my friends, were dead and drowning.

And the waters rose.

And again a wave knocked me from my feet. The rock vanished from beneath me. There was nothing on which I could stand. In the water, I was thrown around the ocean like a piece of driftwood. The saltwater burned my eyes. The sea filled my mouth. I couldn’t breathe. No breath. The rock that had killed me was nowhere to be found. I had nothing on which to stand. I was engulfed by waves. Torn by wind. I struggled to stay afloat. My salty tears mixed with the salty sea; a tiny part of me merged with the fury of the ocean. And under I went.

And the waters rose.

I reached up with my hands and they breached the surface. I felt air on my fingertips. The cold brine seethed around my body. I breathed, I inhaled, but it was not air that I breathed. I breathed water, but fish I was not. I was a man alone in the sea and I breathed water. Submerged, I coughed; the water expelled from my lungs. And I breathed again. Saltwater ravaged my lungs, my body, my mind, my brain. I was taken by the waves. In my mind, I saw…

His face; my boy.

Her face; my girl.

And her face; her face.

And all I wanted was to be out of the sea. The rain fell like a sad song and in that moment, the future did not exist. The only souls I saw were underwater ghosts. Stuttering candles extinguished by the sea. Memories of old crashed like waves on the shore of my mind. 

Life was a memory, and then it was nothing.


Narrative installation

The following video will play as a projection on my body as I tell the story of the dying, shipwrecked sailor on Tusker Rock. I have utilised the drone and slr digital imagery to create this elaborate slideshow, and added some more abstract shapes and inversions where important parts of the verbal narrative will lie.

Audio installation

The audio installation that will play whilst people browse the large format work is now complete. It includes sounds that I have recorded of the sea, of water flowing, of wind on the beach, of Nash point low Lighthouse, and it also includes musical instruments. One sound that I have included is the sound of a guitar as it mimics and replicates the sound of a foghorn, and I’ve also included some sounds from songs as the lyrics are suggestive of emotions and feelings that relate to the work. I am proud of this audio installation, as I think it will add a depth of feel and feeling as people observe the work. I trialled and played with sound during my previous exhibition for the previous module, and it was a success.

Final audio piece to play during the exhibition:

Tri screen test

Book Creation

Using in design, today I finished putting together the accompanying book that will be available during the exhibition launch. One of these books will be also given as accompanying hand in. The book includes the large format black-and-white imagery, the introduction via text, and the story of the man who dies on Tusker rock. I have made the cover almost entirely black, but if you look closely you can see a drone image of Tosca rock. I want this image to be a mere suggestion, and not a direct in your face representation of where this project began.


10th Dec ’21

Book introduction:

GHOST SHIPS AND TIDES 

The coastline of South Wales has a concealed history.  

A history of tragedy and death.

A history of lives lost at sea.  

The treacherous waters of the Bristol Channel have long been navigated by waterborne vessels and on many a gale driven night or fog laden morning, many of these vessels have foundered on rocks unseen. This work investigates the history of these shipwrecks. The work also inspects the landscape that caused these catastrophes, in particular Tusker Rock and the coastline of South Wales. Tusker Rock is a submerged reef that sits in the middle of the Bristol Channel. The 500m rock is only visible at low tide and is a notorious hazard for ships and as such it is scattered with maritime skeletal remains. 

Whilst landscape is the driving force and the main visual factor behind this project, in reality the work centres around people. The people who lost their lives. The people who saved the lives of those ship wrecked. People are the most important things that we have in life. Connections that we make in life and an understanding of when something is good is an underlying driving force behind our decisions. This work looks of the people who have lost their lives at sea, in particular in the treacherous waters of the Bristol Channel. These people sailed on ships, on boats, and had an enormous impact upon the industry and economic make up of our land. This work pays homage to the people who on black, stormy nights floated to their salty doom. This work is a reminder of how treacherous our seas and oceans are. It is a reminder that eventually the seas and oceans, the landscape, nature, and the Earth will one day once again regain control. We as humans do not have control. Our actions are slowly breaking down both our well-being and environment. And this project is a reminder of how fragile we are within our watery landscape. 

This is a visual story of a treacherous history. A story of foundered ships. A story of submerged doom. A story of pirates. A story of pillars of rock that smashed wood and bent metal.  

This is a legacy for the stuttering candles extinguished by the sea.  

Imagine standing on Tusker Rock in the dead of night, as the waves wash all around you, your clothes are heavy and soaked. Rain and gale force winds pummel you from every direction. You are freezing to death and the water rises… Imagine…

Picture the scene…


Exhibition space

https://poly.cam/capture/49C2A380-8F94-417C-81C2-8753E0EABB4C

https://poly.cam/capture/1671AED7-03FB-4ABB-BAB8-38A7D3687719

The images will have descriptions next to them, as follows:

S.S. Liban

Tusker Rock

1882

Three dead souls

51°27’21.0″N 3°40’16.4″W

On 29th March the French steamer Liban struck Tusker Rock off Porthcawl. Eight of the crew were saved by the Porthcawl Lifeboat, but three lives were lost.

S.S. Amazon

Margam Sands

1908

20 dead souls

51°34’05.0″N 3°47’33.2″W

The four-masted Barque S.S. Amazon was driven onto Margam Sands in a severe gale. The ship broke up with loss of 20 of her 28 crew. The four-masted sailing vessel Amazon, laden with 2,000 tons of coal and bound for Iquique, was driven ashore on Margam Sands and battered to pieces in the presence of hundreds of helpless spectators.

MFV Altmark

Sker Beach

1961

All souls saved

51°31’44.1″N 3°45’37.9″W

MFV Altmark (M78) was a British registered fishing vessel that ran aground at Sker Bay, Mumbles on the 12th June 1961. All crew rescued. 

S. S. Samtampa

Sker Point

1947

47 dead souls

51°30’05.8″N 3°44’57.5″W

The SS Samtampa ran aground at Sker Point, a headland in Porthcawl, on 23 April 1947 after attempting to sail