The Assignment

Members were asked to first interview a subject, this could be someone they know, a friend-of-a-friend or a complete stranger. Then to take that information and create a set of photographs that are that person's vision of a place, they will act as a guide to that person's neighbourhood. However they must not photograph their subject, but instead to photograph what they see, not what they look like.


Andy Russell - Through Different Eyes

Neighbourhoods

I found a willing victim, my colleague Claudia, who has lived in the centre of Munich, close to the University in a district called Maxvorstadt for 12 years. 

Her loves in the area are shopping, food, cafes, entertainment and she lives for ski-ing and shopping. She absolutely loves architecture and modern pop art. You will see that I have let that idea get the better of me!

With that in mind I have broken your rules, but then again Germans are very good at rules but then occasionally break them. 

1) From the top of Peterskirche in the City Centre. We can see over her neighbourhood in the context of her love of ski-ing and sorry for the over processing, but it is done with her modern art in mind.

2) Brandhorst Modern Art Museum. Her favourite place in Munich about 300m from her flat. I really like the way that I blew the sky out and emphasised that in post. 

3) In the Victualien market, the freshest food.

4) The weather was appalling. I am glad the Fuji is weather proof. It doesn’t matter about the weather, we Germans will always go out for a beer. Claudia is without doubt a very social lady and loves beer gardens in the summer. Here in monsoon conditions, protected from the weather, the beer is safe. 

5) One of the difficulties in Munich is parking. I just like the dynamic of this one. This is why we all bike!

6) The Runner. She was insistent that I visited this cemetery close to her house. Its is not large but on Sunday afternoon, when all shops etc are shut, it is full of runners and people strolling. (new lens here the 10-24m, I love it) 

7) Inpromptu music on a Sunday afternoon. A mix of Jazz and Rap, families and tourists. And typical of Munich a bicycle in the foreground,,,,,and it will be there next week,nobody takes them

8) Waiting for Claudia. She loves Mulberry handbags and Rolexs watches, LV isn”t bad either. This was shot in pouring rain, so I am quite pleased with the result. He is almost praying she’ll be back to buy another one!!


Bloss Spink - Through Different Eyes

For this project I have chosen someone known to me. Although they live in the same town it is not the same area.  They have lived in their neighbourhood for 12 years and are bringing up a family there (kids and the furry ones!), so there are many memories.  A set of 8 questions was asked of them which I have tried to put into image form from the responses they gave.

1) The Country Park.. Beautiful... considering it once was a brick quarry...

2) One of the many views from the windows, which are loved as it doesn't feel like an estate as no roads are visible...

3) Nature is loved...Litter isn't!!

4) That's maybe what the kids do all day... a spot of outdoor cooking by the stream!!!!

5) The neighbours flower beds... One of our 'furry' family members snooze spot...


Dette Barton - Through Different Eyes

The neighbourhood through their eyes, past and present

This is the neighbourhood of the students and staff at Tildonk school, in Belgium.

The oldest parts of the building were built  as a convent in 1820 and was a girls boarding  school for more  than 100 years. Run by nuns until 1980's  then taken over by the flemish government and made into a modern local school.

It clearly remains a striking building, which looking at past photos hasn't changed that dramatically over the last 100 years.

Meeting and spending time with the current Director I hope to capture what is now their space, how they use it and how through their eyes they feel about it.  Although it would be a bonus if the images provoked the viewers to also see it / consider it through the eyes of the past.

What makes this project particular interesting but also challenging is that I know this neighbourhood, not recently, or through the lens of a camera , but through the eyes and soul of the past, as a frightened, vulnerable 10 year old child who spent 6 years of her life living here many years ago.

The ornate features such as the  wall and floor tiles, the beautiful engravings, the  strong wooden staircases, have not changed. What is strikingly different is the feel of the place, large heavy crucifixes have been replaced by walls and ceilings full of vibrant displays, and bright, colourful hand painted chairs. The silent corridors once filled with fear and sadness.are now filled with light, excitement, anticipation, the noise of boys, girls and teachers greeting each other and rushing off to their classes, the horrors and fears of the past which I and many other's knew have been replaced with an over whelming feeling of care, nurture  and compassion. The building may not have changed but its spirit has.

1) I sat in my van and watched as children, teachers and parents rushed up to this imposing building, through the massive 12 foot high wrought iron gates and straight on past,  what use to be the main entrance, without giving it a second glance.

It was part of their neighbourhood and they were totally unaware that, that entrance, that  door which they had no interest in and was just there, could hold such strong emotions for  so many others. It was less than 40 years ago that as a child I went through that door, once you went through your life would never be the same. This door would remain closed  to you until the end of term, and until then you would learn discipline, obedience correctness, and humility from  nuns who knew no compassion, and had no sense of nurture. The lessons would be learnt through prayer, humiliation and punishment.

On reflection it would have been better if I had planned my images to show a wider view of the scene including the people coming and going.  But I struggled looking at that door, and the only way I cold look at it was through my camera lens, in a way distancing myself from it. By placing mabel in it grounded me in the now, and allowed me to take this image.

2) Highly decorative and spectacular, the building continues to impress  staff and visitors, but like us the children do not  appear to take note of it.  In complete contrast, the corridors are no longer solum but filled with bright colourfull artwork, which students show off with pride and enthusiasm.

3) Obeying the rules of silence, and humility, never walking down the centre of the corridor but rather keeping as close to the walls as possible, kneeling down in prayer for hours when you got it wrong, all have long gone, as I  joyfully witnessed both students and staff enjoying their space, rushing back and fore in all directions shouting greetings and instructions to each other.

4) Windows are said to be the eyes of a building.  Like the front door, those that  now live in this neighbourhood, these windows have little use other than lighting up the stair way.  For me these windows are so much more.  Here was the boundary of my neighbourhood. For years I would sit on the window ledge, cold, hungry, punished if caught, and stare at the outside world. The sky, the grass, the trees, and think of home and those I so missed.

5) I chose this as my last image as I feel it demonstrates how dramatically the neighbour hood and those that live in it  and think about it has really changed. At first I was horrified, felt it was sacrilege, but then I began to smile inside till I could no longer hide from it, I was smiling and almost laughing out load. Converting their precious chapel into a gourmet cafe was unbelievable, the nuns would have hated it.


Liz Bisson - Through Different Eyes

Through Caroline's Eyes

I chose to look through Caroline Russell's eyes because, despite knowing Caroline for about 40 years, I don't really know about her area. Also, knowing what a precise photographer she is, I knew she would have very firm views on her views! Caroline moved into her home, Pullens Farm, just before she and Ian got married. They chose to live in the Farm Cottage, leaving the old farm house to Ian's brother and family. The farm has been in the Russell family since Ian's grandfather bought it on 1918. Nestled in a valley between the A21 and Horsemonden, it originally was "Pullings" Farm, and had shire horses to help heavy loads up the hill either to the village or towards the Goudhurst-London road. ( after our session Ian had to get a large tractor to help a foreign lorry up the hill!).  Caroline loves this area very much, with fields they own and used to farm being her daily walk with her dogs and of course her camera. She has said any time the Photography Group want to go there she would be more than happy to host a photography day there! 

Sadly the farm is now mainly rented out and the outbuildings are converted into light industry, and Caroline has run a very successful cattery there for many years. Ian's brother and family had to sell up and move away as the farm couldn't support two families any more. 

So Caroline showed me round her favourite views and told me all about the farm and area...directing me very closely on the exact view-point to take...even moving me one foot right on one occasion! I hope you get a sense of how much she loves this place and why...I found it very easy to understand!

1) Through The Kitchen Window - This is the view that Caroline has most of the time from her beautiful kitchen into the sunroom, which is the heart of the Cottage. Here Caroline sews, entertains, does her paperwork, looks after the dogs, and (one of her favourite things) this is where her family gather for huge meals ( she is a brilliant cook btw!). Ever-present are Beema and Biggles, Mother and Son, beautifully posed by Caroline, as always. We have had some great tea parties in this room in the past, and it means Caroline can sit in daylight all the year round, with the wood burner lit in the winter - it may account for her sunny nature!  

2) Come To Mummy! - Out of the sunroom is Caroline's garden. The Willow tree she planted as a twig when she arrived; she has left her children in their pram under its branches, swung on the seat Ian put up for her, and soon she will be entertaining her grandchild under it too.

You can also see the bird feeders that Caroline sits and watches for hours to get her fabulous bird pictures...some hanging from the pergola and one from the Magnolia, again all planned and planted by Caroline. 

Of course, the dogs are rushing towards their mum who has always got some morsel in her pocket for them - I only just managed to take the shot in time.

3) From My Bench - This shows one of Caroline's favourite views, and one she tries to go to every day, often taking a flask of something hot and a blanket in the summer to watch the sunsets and strs. She placed the bench in front of a holly bush as it backs onto a wood, and she didn't want to be taken by surprise!  

Here you can see all the farm buildings. The Cottage on the right, the light industrial units, and the cattery on the far left. Behind you can just see the old farmhouse roof. Sadly the new-comers in there have a rather urban attitude to noise etc, complaining about lights, traffic, working hours...they chose to live there, and must have thought about all of this beforehand. Caroline has noticed in the Village too how attitudes are changing to rural life, as newcomers take over, letting the local shops close in favour of internet or town shopping. She realises change is part of life and embraces most of it, but feels some of it is very sad.

4) Past, Present, and Future Homes - This special shot shows to the right the old farmhouse roofs, in the centre the old hopper huts which Caroline hopes to one day convert into their retirement home, giving her easy access to the rest of the farm, but being on the other side of the road from the other buildings. To the right of this ( and sadly just out of shot) is a mound where the railway began diggings for a station...but the economic climate changed and it was never built. In the background to the right of the hopper hut you can just see the roof of The Farm Cottage. WE took this view several times, from various angles, but this one came at just the right time of day and light. Such beautiful colours this year!

5) The Tree with Dogs - This is a very special tree for Caroline; she photographs it almost every day, in every light condition, and is never satisfied! I know how she feels!! It came down many years ago, and seems to be well preserved. I got down low for this one, but wish I'd used a tripod...the dogs movement was, of course, choreographed by Caroline! This is her wood, and in it you can easily turn an ankle on holes everywhere - not all rabbit or animal, but some are the remains of iron ore mining from the dark ages! AS the light fades when you are in the wood it begins to get a bit creepy for me, thinking of how many ghosts of various trades there might be watching us! Caroline thinks of it as her secret garden and is in heaven photographing all of it whilst the dogs hunt around for delicious smells. There is the occasional bit of old tree in the way of a great photograph and Caroline is talking of getting Ian in with the chain saw for some strategic pruning!


Lotte Garner - Through Different Eyes

Seeing the world through my neighbour's eyes    Karen has lived next door for 5 years. At the moment they are doing up their house - it's a big project, which she has planned for years. Her passion is art - textile is "her thing" and layers and different textures ....  but she must have things in order - everything has to be in their right space with a natural flow between (She is very spiritual too). As a family they are into organic food and herbal  medicine and her dream is to have a big garden with little separate areas for certain things but connect them with natural paths leading from area to area.

1) The view from her new bedroom window - with the builders working

2) Karens passion is art - in particular textiles with layers and she finds mixing different textures interesting - but everything needs be in it's right space - so everything has to have some sort of order too

3) Her favourite view is a willow tree - lots of layers with the sun shining into them and that flow again

4) Organic veges

5) Combining organic vegetables, layers, textiles and putting things into their right boxes


Steve White - Through Different Eyes

  • Interviewed a friend of a friend - She has lived in Mayfield for 11 years moving from a city environment, also works in the area. 

1) Mayfield a Medieval village with strong religious ties.

2) At 400 feet above sea level the views are clear to see - even from the local  play area.

3) Village changing, even the estate agents have closed! - once with two high street banks now both closed also.

4) Bus service to Tunbridge Wells - well used and regular - Mayfield high street is often double parked.

5) There's a lot going on - sample of the current Mayfield activities - the school railings make a useful display area.

Interview:

Margarita local who works and lives in and around the Mayfield area.

Moved from a city to village environment about 11 years ago.

Started living at a friend’s small holding – handling livestock i.e. chickens etc

Moved to current house about 5 years ago in Victoria Road.

Pros

  • Location - perfect for local shops and countryside.
  • Space – good for hobby, breeding pigeons.
  • Road – cul-de-sac so resident traffic only. 
  • Car parks – free to use
  • Schools - Good infant and junior.
  • Large private girls school.
  • Doctors – large and convenient surgery
  • Friendliness – local people tend to know each other and pass the time of day with any one.
  • Local activities – many different types available for anyone who wishes to become involved.
  • Mayfield Cricket club.

Cons

  • Noise - from the Mayfield by-pass
  • Shops – loss of village shops e.g. post office, bank etc
  • Possible loss of community.
  • Transport – Bus fares high.
  • Parking in high street difficult.
  • Private car needed.

Likes

  • Walking late at night, in the park and enjoying the peaceful environment, not meeting anyone, just looking at wildlife and the sky.
  • Views from Memorial carpark
  • Foraging for berry’s, mushrooms nuts etc
  • Feeling of safety.
  • Local restaurant (Middle house)

Notes

  • Church community strong in village (more churches than pubs)
  • Festivities – activity high especially at pinch points in the calendar e.g. Christmas, Bonfire night etc.
  • Many different societies and committees – often with the same core of people running them!