This is the submitted work for the first assignment – Square Mile. Finalising 12 images was very difficult as it has meant leaving out a number of photographs that expand on the experience.
I have based the assignment on the time we have spent at St Margaret’s Hospice in Yeovil with my son Rhys. He is hanging on at present but we don’t know how long for.
The material presented here will be just part of a larger work that I will be developing in the future.
I have included a brief history at the end, after my evaluation of my work, to provide a context for this work but it is not part of the actual submission, that is covered by the photographs, bibliography and evaluation.
Comments and feedback are welcome.
- Campbell B The Dad Project. Available at http://www.brionycampbell.com/projects/the-dad-project/?overview (Accessed: 3rd September 2017)
This assignment has proven to be a challenge.My initial response to the brief was to limit to an area around my home and to photograph new things, the renovated church, the pub that has been converted into a veterinary surgery. However, that idea changed so that it revolved around the hospice waiting for my son to die.
Looking at Hunter’s work I found that using every day locations and focusing on people allows the viewer to relate to the situation and even put themselves into it.
From Holdsworth’s work I found that giving people a wider view of an environment allows them to get a better sense of it.
A third photographer I looked at was Briony Campbell. Her work “The Dad Project” had a similar theme to how my work has developed. From her work, I learned that it is possible to take what is still a taboo subject, and also an intensely private one and turn it into something special that honours the individual central to it.
To complete the brief, I used a combination of my Nikon D7200, with a variety of lenses, and my Samsung Galaxy S8. The Nikon allowed me more control over shutter, speed, aperture and ISO. The S8 allowed me to capture photos without being too intrusive. All of the photographs I took were freehand without the use of a tripod.
Editing of the final selection of images I’ve submitted for the assignment was done using Camera Raw (I shoot in RAW) and Photoshop. Editing of the images was mainly to do with adjusting the exposure, increasing and decreasing highlights and shadows, adjusting contrast and increasing colour saturation.
While editing the photographs I found that having a workflow and doing things in a controlled manner makes editing easier, quicker and the results more consistent.
Am I satisfied with what I’ve achieved? To a degree. Having to choose 12 images to submit was difficult. To do the project justice I needed closer to 20 images as some of the ones I’ve had to leave out give a fuller picture of what life has been like and my son’s last days.
In a similar way to Campbell I see this assignment becoming far more as it becomes a project in it’s own right that may possibly help other parents faced with losing their child.
The main areas I need to work on are getting my workflow right, I found myself editing the photos and then restarting the process a number of times. As part of this I need to be more disciplined with storing all of the images I use, selecting those I plan to edit and then keeping only the ones I plan on using for the final body of work.
I also need to become more familiar with the editing tools I’m using so that I can begin to develop a signature style.
My son Rhys was born on January 7th 1998. He was just under a month pre-mature because his mum suffered from pre-eclampsia during the final stages of her pregnancy. Shortly after he was born the doctors confirmed that he had a condition called Neurofibromatosis, something inherited from his mum.
For the first two years of his life the only scare we had with him was over his first Christmas and New Year when we thought he might have contracted pneumonia.
By the time he was three that scare would pale into insignificance for us as we dealt with that dreaded of words, Cancer.
Below is a summary of everything, medically, that has led us to where we find ourselves now.
Neurofibromatosis Type 1, since birth. No active treatment.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, diagnosed summer 2000. Chemotherapy.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (Relapse), summer 2005. Chemotherapy, cranial radiotherapy (1½ years).
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (Relapse), end 2007 / start 2008. Bone Marrow Transplant (May 2008).
Malignant peripheral nerve sheaf tumour (stomach), 2014. Surgery on stomach.
Malignant peripheral nerve sheaf tumour (stomach) – recurrence, 2015. Surgery on stomach.
Meningioma (left forehead area), 2014. Surgery – December 2015 to remove and replace affected bone with acrylic insert.
Seizure, 2016. Result of the surgery on his brain.
Malignant peripheral nerve sheaf tumour (left thigh), 2016. Surgery to remove, Post-operative radiotherapy.
Tumour (lung) – resulting from left thigh nerve sheaf tumour, 2017. Removal of wedge of lung by keyhole surgery.
Tumour (facial), 2017. Underwent radiotherapy in preparation for surgery to remove tumour and for facial reconstruction.
Tumour (brain), 2017. Days prior to starting radiotherapy for facial tumour, a series of fits led to the discovery of a brain tumour. This tumour could not be treated. Subsequent scans identified further tumours growing.