PHO703 Weeks 1 and 2: Where I Am, Work in Progress

My project is called Hometown Nights, a walk through my hometown – Oxford and its environs – after dark when the imaginings of the night come out to play, the familiar becomes unfamiliar and the strangeness of the urban world takes hold.

I have three intentions here. First, is the expression of the uncanny. Second is expressing the extraordinary in the ordinary, catching the photographic possibilities in the apparently mundane (as with Eggleston, Shore and Power, for example). The third aspect of my intent is how I look the social relations and power dynamics of the modern urban world in an increasingly unequal and divided society.

These ideas and influential photographers in the field were set out in my Critical Review of Practice at the end of the last module.

For this module I am thinking of concentrating on two things. First, water: the river, canals, water features and so forth of Oxford. Second, earth: the Cowley area of East Oxford which has both some industry and some notably deprived estates.

However, the point of doing this entire course is to change everything. Right now, I have no particular idea whether these plans will stand up or whether I will find that my vision and intent are changing, in which case my project will change too. This is very much a ‘don’t know’ situation. I welcome this, as for me it is the only way of learning and embracing the new.

Words I have going round in my head at the moment are collaboration, experimentation and different kinds of media (in bold so I remember). I have a difficult relationship with social media because I have found it psychologically harmful in the past,  but likely I need to spend time assembling a platform on Instagram to start trailing my project.

This week I have made a few photography walks, both to gather images for the week’s activity of repeat photography and to make some new images to take my project forward.

It will take me a few trips before things settle down and I am in the zone again. I attach some work in progress below. It is not intended to form a coherent whole. It is just what happened.

The brief for this week mentions ‘methodology’. That sounds like a posh word for a Thermos of coffee, a ham sandwich, a torch (if at night) and a lot of walking in the free summer air. Only then does it all come alive.

Fig. 1: Mark Crean 2020. Hometown Nights.
Fig. 2: Mark Crean 2020. Hometown Nights.
Fig. 3: Mark Crean 2020. Hometown Nights.
Fig. 4: Mark Crean 2020. Hometown Nights.
Fig. 5: Mark Crean 2020. Hometown Nights.
Fig. 6: Mark Crean 2020. Hometown Nights.
Fig. 7: Mark Crean 2020. Hometown Nights.
Fig. 8: Mark Crean 2020. Hometown Nights.
Fig. 10: Mark Crean 2020. Hometown Nights.


Figures 1-10. Mark CREAN. 2020. Hometown Nights. Collection of the author