Max Colson: Tales

Photojournalism MA student at the LCC

Posts Tagged ‘england

The stories of Tyneham and Lulworth: initial thoughts on my Major Project

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The Village that Died for England - Patrick Wright

 

From the 1980s to the 1990s the historian Patrick Wright made many trips to Dorset. His targets were Lulworth and the valley of Tyneham, as part of the extensive research he was undertaking for his book The Village that Died for England: the Strange Story of Tyneham. His book concerned the fate of the small village of Tyneham and the surrounding area, a village that had been evicted during the 1940s to enable the MOD to train their tanks as part of the Second World War war effort. It was subsequently never returned to the villagers. Now still largely controlled by the Ministery of Defence for the training of tanks, the majority of the Lulworth area is a patch of British countryside that remains untouched by modern developments such as agriculture and heavy tourism (save for quite a few tank shells obviously). According to his book ‘it has lurked in the national imagination ever since as the symbol of a vanished England’.

 

With a keen grip on the history of the area and its ability to relate to wider themes within Britain’s development, Wright’s research trips allowed him to identify significant locations, people, and events that would help him put the pieces of his story together. In his hands Tyneham and the surrounding area was not only a story about a specific area in England, it was an area which allowed him to investigate the hopes and fears of Britain as it came to terms with the advance of the 20th century: his book “investigates the strengths and weaknesses of ‘organic’ visions of the English countryside. It is concerned with opposed expressions of patriotism, the fear and appreciation of technology and military power, the tension between traditional ideas of English life and the transformations brought about by the modernising State.”

 

I am interested in Wright’s work because it is not just a study of surface appearances but is concerned with tracing a story of Britain, by unravelling and joining together the layers of history hidden at symbolic locations. It is these ‘historical’ points that I want to try to identify and photograph. I’m interested in loosely re-tracing the footsteps of the historian around the area with the same inquisitive eye, trying to ascertain elements which could be used to piece a story together about what this part of rural England was and what it is today. I’m hoping that the kind of images I make will make something that will not just be about a specific location but will allow me to explore what aspects of this area have symbolic potential and why this is. What is it that makes us see something as symbolic? What is it about a site or a way of photographing a place that allows it to comment to the way we think about our country? Which sites are more relevant to our sense of Britain than others and why? Will these images demonstrate a wider significance to the everyone else or will they just say more about my personal point of view of Britain? And most importantly, will anyone actually buy the vision of England that I’m presenting?

 

I have a few ideas about how this project could look like but I will add these in the coming weeks in more posts. I will also be visiting the area for the first time tomorrow on a five day camping trip. The weather forecast is pretty grim but this is all what being a fearless adventurer is all about, right? Let’s hope I can get to grips with the tent and the good old camp stove. Grrrr.

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David Hockney & ‘higgledy piggledy’ viewing

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David Hockney's 'Pearblossom Hwy', photographic collage of a Californian highway from 1986 max colson

David Hockney's 'Pearblossom Hwy', photographic collage of a Californian highway from 1986

As I got a couple of books of David Hockney’s work for Christmas I’ve had the chance to dig his work even more than usual. In particular I’ve very much enjoyed reading through the conversations in the newly released book A Bigger Message: his thoughts on photography have been a good companion on my (nebulous, goddamn never ending) trip to working out what it is that I want to do and achieve with the camera. I’ve also found it really refreshing to read someone who’s less concerned with discussing photography as an obstacle to objective seeing and is instead more interested in the tenuous relationship that it has with the fragmented, higgledy piggledy way in which we actually comprehend what’s in front of us with our eyes:

“A photograph sees [The Grand Canyon] all at once, in one click of the lens from a single point of view, but we don’t. And it’s the fact that it takes us time to see it that makes the space.” p.143

“We think the photograph is the ultimate reality, but it isn’t because the camera sees geometrically. We don’t. We see partly geometrically but also psychologically. If I glance at the picture…on the wall over there , the moment I do it becomes larger than the door. So measuring the world in a geometrical way is not that true.” p.53

It’s hard not to be influenced with his work after seeing it. This is a photo collage of my girlfriend’s room that I made a few days ago for her birthday card. Click on the image for a bigger version of the design. It’s nice to play!

Max Colson photo collage david hockney documentary photography

Birthday card design

Day out in Rochester for the Dickens Festival

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I went to Rochester a couple of weeks back to take in the glories of the Dickens festival. I find it exotic enough just getting out of London period but one thing’s for sure – when half of any town town have dressed up in Victorian costumes for a three day weekend it’s got to be a pretty amazing place.

I was only able to make it for a one day unfortunately but I still had a laugh.

max colson Rochester old couple

An old couple and a pigeon

Rochester cathedral tombstones churchyard max colson

Rochester cathedral

Punch and Judy Rochester Max Colson

The end of a Punch and Judy show

child playing near a castle Max Colson

Child playing by a castle ruin

dickens festival rochester max colson

Some Dickens fans in front of a parked van

fantasy armoury max colson

Fantasy armoury (with skull)

street photography rochester max colson

Men, waiting

england boy flag and castle max colson

Boy dressed in Victorian costume

bill sykes dickens festival rochester

Bill Sikes (from Oliver Twist) lookalike

Cute T-Mobile Royal Wedding Advert

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I just thought that this recent advert by T-Mobile was worth a blog post to be honest. It’s playful on a few levels and really really works. It’s nicely irreverent and portrays the Royal Family as a cutely idiotic bunch without being too nasty. Obviously it’s appealing to everyone at the moment for a number of reasons.

Click the below to see why: