The point of this exercise is to take 6-12 photographs in the concept of Filltir Sgwar (The Square Mile) and to write up to 500 words of reflection.
I wanted to work on something that has a connection to my childhood and at the same time something challenging and outside of my comfort zone. After a lot of thinking and researching; I decided to photograph things that concentrate on architecture, places and forgotten buildings. It has always been hard for me to photograph buildings and every time I try to do so; I end up unsatisfied with the results. However, this time I will be photographing a place that I lived in years ago (my grandfather’s house). I have so many memories in this house. Happy ones and sad ones as it reminds me of my grandfather who passed away about five years ago.
Lidia Giusto A young Italian photographer was my inspiration for this exercise. She would take photographs of a place and what it means to her in black and white. She uses light and the contrast of the light and shadow to convey the feeling of space and time. She brings out the feeling of loneliness and isolation in neglected rooms and forgotten corners.
The main problem I faced during this exercise is the weather. It is summer time here and the temperature reaches 49°C with 56% humidity. I personally can’t tolerate humidity but I decided to dress in light clothes and take my camera and all my lenses with me and of course a cloth to wipe the camera Lens every time it starts fogging from humidity.
Not much has changed at my grandfather’s house. My grandfather used to pick me up from my parents home everyday at 8:00 pm and take me back the next day early in the morning to go to school with my brothers and sister. In the weekend I would stay till the afternoon. Going back to my childhood house was so emotional for me. Every corner in that house tells a story, I remembered little details and an air of melancholy surrounded me.
Aside from the memories, I was surprised how small the rooms were, it didn’t feel like that when I lived in the house. I don’t know if it is because we live in bigger spaces now or because the house is empty of furniture and people.
I planned to use my wide angle lens (EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM) because I wanted to capture so much in an image when needed and because it is the lens that I love but end up with unsatisfying results sometimes. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone is to use the wide angle lens. I also decided to convert all the images to black and white because I wanted to accentuate the dramatic light and shadows in my photographs and because removing color and going with black and white does not put a date on a photo. Monochromatic photographs convey more of the photograph feeling as it removes the color distraction. It helps focus more on the subject’s emotional state. I wanted the viewer to sense the feeling of abandonment in the neglected rooms and the feeling of time in these spaces.
I took more than 16 photographs of the house but after viewing them and converting them to black and white I chose 8 of them for my final results. Below are the images I chose and edited:
This is the front door of the house and the family living room where my grandmother and I used to sit and watch tv and my grandfather used to listen to the radio and sip his cup of tea.
I was unsure if I should crop the roof (the top of the image) as I find it a bit distracting but at the same time I feel it adds to the image so I decided to keep it.
This room was used for friends and family gatherings during the day and at night my grandfather use it to watch the WWF on tv because my grandmother and I would be watching the tv in the family room.
The first entrance on the right hand side takes to three bedrooms. The one in the middle is the store room where I used to Fitch water and canned milk for my grandfather while the entrance on the far left hand side takes to the dinning room and kitchen. The stairs take you up to the roof but I was unable to get up there because the door was locked.
My grandparents and I slept in this room. The bed used to be on the far left hand side facing the wardrobe on the far right hand side. The window would be on our left hand side when we sleep. With the bed, wardrobe, drawers, bed night stands and all the furniture we still had space in this room!
This was the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. The door leads from the main bedroom to the changing room and toilets.
My great grandmother (my grandmother’s mother) used to visit from time to time and stay for the weekends and when she got half paralyzed and unable to take care of herself anymore; my grandmother used to take care of her and she used to stay in this room.
This was a small indoor kitchen, the sink and the window was the only thing that remained the same. I used my (EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM) lens for this image.
This is the only photograph that is not taken inside the house and might not be considered part of the series but to me it is because it carries so many memories. There was a big tree in this area where my cat used to climb and I would be getting the long stairs to help her get back down. My grandmother and I used to walk out here and admire the trees and plants. Unfortunately, the people who rented the house cut down the big tree and planted those three small trees in its place. This particular photograph looked better in color but I had to convert it to black and white to fit with the other photographs.
Bibliography / References:
Lensculture. The Dark Room of my Mind [online]. Available from: https://www.lensculture.com/articles/lidia-giusto-the-dark-room-of-my-mind#slide-2 [Accessed 1 August, 2016].