‘Y Filltir Sgwâr’ or ‘the square mile’ is a cultural developmental concept and truth as to how we see, relate and communicate; of who we are.
This photographic assignment asks that I be the photographer of a specific environment. I chose not to return to where I grew up but to take photographs of my local environment. I felt that who I am, how I have been formed, would be communicated in the photographs without needing a return to a location.
Photographers who have worked within their local area or autobiographically on photographic projects show that vast differences of approach can perhaps sit within the range of ‘Y Filltir Sgwâr’.
Some of the photographic work I viewed was of an environment without human subjects, whilst the traces of humanity were apparent. Image by Karen Knorr, (reproduced for educational purposes as further research images) Karen Knorr’s Belgravia
Some work is of family life. A tableau photographed communicating how we may relate. Image by Tina Barney, Tina Barney’s Theatre of Manners
Some is of childhood memory. Image by Jodie Taylor, Jodie Taylor, from OCA Archives
My photographs are of previously unseen landscape as I haven’t lived in my local area for many years as yet. My choices when shooting were based on my memories, my life and how I relate now to the world around me. I feel that I shoot my photographs, generally, as a summary of my life experience.
Conclusions to the ‘Square Mile’ assignment
I was surprised to see how much some of the images I’d taken meant to me despite the environment I’d walked through being of paths I’d never walked before. It was most clear from the final selection of images that communicate at a greater level than some of those I chose to discard. This type of photographic task isn’t one I would have chosen to fulfil as an exercise without it being set as part of the course. Yet it’s shown me exactly what I am bringing to a photograph I take. I may not like that my life, at some level, is written within what I am drawn to shoot, select from my files and finish yet this is what can happen each time I take photographs.
It is what I disliked most about this assignment that has given it the qualities that I am now able to see. I disliked that there were so few limits to what could be interpreted or produced as the ‘Square Mile’. It was the absence of limits that allowed as much of ‘me’ to show in the photographs demonstrating that photography is much more than technical decisions and that all art forms, inclusive of photography are autobiographical, to some degree, whether a viewer can see that within the work produced or not.
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Images sourced from the following websites, image link also provided.
Jodie Taylor via OCA archives