20120129_Urban Photographic Project – Coventry
Big City – Small Citizen
When : 29th January 2012
Who : Just Me
Where : Coventry City Centre, England, UK
Maps used : None –
Start and End Point : Ford Street Car Park (Off Cox Street, Near Fairfax Street Sports Centre/Swimming Pool Entrance)
Distance : Approx 5 km (3.1 miles)
Significant heights : None really (Unless you climb the old Cathedral Spire like I did).
Summary : A photographic exercise set during a beginners course I’m taking at the moment.
The Set title = CITYSCAPE WITH PEOPLE … within this very broad title, I devised my own sub-title BIG CITY SMALL CITIZEN.
My thoughts were to show how small and insignificant an individual can appear against the backdrop of mostly concrete and hard landscaping that is Coventry … and Coventry has got plenty of that and precious little soft landscaping.
If you click on a pic’, it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream.
This is a departure from the normal country walking I write about in my blog and the complete antithesis from the Lake District walks I last posted about.
Coventry is a place I am very familiar with, it being my home town and where I still work. The photography on the other hand took me out of my comfort zone completely – Substituting CITYSCAPE for LANDSCAPE is hard enough, but the set project included having PEOPLE as a central plank of the exercise … taking the emphasis away from what could have developed into a purely architectural exercise …. The photo course leader/lecturer is a good-natured gent’ called David Harding, a Rugby based Photographer with his own web-site and flickr account and sells his images via various means including Alamy.
Of course, this is a purely personal view; I’ve got no agenda; No profit motive; No real reason to write this other than I hope someone in authority, a city Councillor maybe, reads this and looks at my images and sees what I saw and tries to turn it around to be a vibrant, colourful and above all, a friendly place to go …. at the moment I don’t think it’s any of these things. If you think I’m being too negative, then you’re entitled to your views and I wish I didn’t feel the way I do.
I did the exercise on a cold, grey, overcast, gloomy (but dry) Sunday in January, which you could argue gives a slightly distorted view of the city. But I figured it would allow the real fabric of the city to be seen warts and all …. Of course some places are more attractive than others, like around the Cathedral, but on the whole the place is a bit grotty. You could also argue I only did about a quarter of the city centre and I’d have to agree, but I maintain it’s fairly typical of the area inside of or just outside the ring road and I did visit three of the supposedly feature areas of the city :- In and around Millennium Place, The Canal Basin and The Cathedral Area.
If you open my pic’s on my flickr account, some will have a little more text, to give a bit more context and some [I hope] will just speak for themselves. Also, not surprisingly really, I took one or two pic’s with no people in them; it’d be almost impossible to resist the temptation to go slightly “off task” when out and about for so long without taking some non-people images.
And finally, the people in the images are anonymous – I have absolutely no idea who they are – They just happened to be in Coventry at the same time as I was … If, in the unlikely event the people are recognisable, that wasn’t my particular motivation or intention, and if anyone depicted really objects and contacts me then I’ll remove the image as soon as possible – On the other hand, if they want to add their names and maybe their views on the city then they’d be very welcome to add them as a comment.
Well, from here I guess I’ll just let the pictures take over, with a few titles just to give an idea of where they were taken.
Millennium Place / Motor Museum Area.
White Street / Under The Ring Road / Towards the Swanswell Area.
Canal Basin Bridge over The Ring Road / Canal Basin Area.
Bishop Street Area.
Palmer Lane and Back to Millennium Place + Priory Place.
The backs of the buildings of the Burges in Palmer lane are possibly my favourite little bit of Coventry, where the River Sherbourne is visible for just a few yards.
The area of Millennium Place up into Priory Lane is far from being my fave bit.
The bit between The Cathedrals, The Herbert Art Gallery and Cov- Uni. (with a bunch of skateboarders).
Part of Coventry University.
And finally …. A short trip into the Shopping Precinct.
The photo’s are either “as taken” or with minimal editing, such as straightening, a little cropping and maybe a little brightening/contrast adjustment … but there’s no way you could describe the images as “photoshopped” … they are virtually straight off the memory chip.
The equipment used :- Pentax K200D DLSR body with the 18-55 kit lens, I don’t think I used a filter at-all and I used a mixture of hand-held and tripod mounted shooting. In fact the tripod was bought just days earlier with some Christmas pressie money, so I was kind of playing and getting used to it having never used one before.
And finally, back at the photo course, as a bit of fun, we all submitted a small selection of our project images, and then we all marked each others anonymous images against various criteria such as technical ability, composition, etc, … and … I came third (out of the eight of us).
T.T.F.N. Gary ….
Hopefully, my next post will be prettier and decidedly more positive in outlook.