Research and initial​ ideas and thoughts

Why Long Sutton?

During my project Why Long Sutton? I want to explore why people choose to live there. When growing up I found that there wasn’t much to do and I questioned why people would choose to live there. Now after living part of my life in London for University, I have seen the appeal of it. It’s so quiet and peaceful, the town center has pretty much all the essential shops in it, and with cars, you can drive to the next bigger town with ease, or with online shopping, you don’t even have to do that. However, more and more I am being asked the question of where I want to live after University and Long Sutton isn’t coming up as one of those places.

Long Sutton is a small market town located in South Holland, on the south-eastern outskirts of Lincolnshire which makes it close to both counties Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. In 2011, it was recorded that the population of the town was 4,821. Every Friday the town has a Market which can be dated back to the 13th Century and is still alive a thriving today. Especially in the 1950s around eleven trains (when there was a train station) would come and go with transporting people and produce. The town still has Georgian architecture, St Mary’s Church is known for its 13th Century timber spire, which is now the highest and best-preserved in England. This year the town is celebrating 25 years of Long Sutton in Bloom, where a group of volunteers come together to plant flowers for the East Midlands in Bloom competition. Through this, it has frequently been named one of the ‘Best Kept Villages’ in Lincolnshire.

This series is very much based on the people who live in Long Sutton and is a documentary of me asking them why they live there, what they like most about it and most importantly why they never left. It’s something many of us have in common, why do people go back to little towns? Why are people attracted to them? The conclusion for this project will come after I have talked to residents and people who have previously lived in the town to answer the question of why people live there.

Some of my influences for the series are Martin Parr, particularly his series Think of England (both book and documentary film) and Signs of the Times. Mark Neville and his book project The Port Glasgow. Iain Mckell with series The New Gypsies, Michal Solarski and his series The Airmen. Lastly, Eri Morita and her series In This Beautiful Bubble.


Second Shoot

Whilst I was home I decided I wanted to take some shots of the town as I want them to be a part of the project, not for it to just be portraits. I couldn’t get a large format camera back to the town so I just used my Nikon D750. Above are the contact sheets from the shoot, but just of my favourites. The areas that I took pictures of are actually mostly part of the route I take with my mum and nana when I go with them to take the dogs for a walk. The day before I was just looking around and decided that I wanted to come back and take pictures of some of the things I saw as we were walking. That meant that I mostly took pictures of green areas rather than the buildings. I’ll definitely also need to take pictures of the actual town and the buildings, but I thought it would be interesting to explore areas that are specific to me as well.

I definitely liked the tones of the images, very warm and bright is probably something that I have wanted because of the time of year as the leaves are on the ground. As the seasons change the way I edit images changed as well because it looks so different. I think this was helpful as part of my project to see what kind of images I wanted to take of the town, what I am naturally drawn too. I didn’t necessarily have a theme in mind but I did seem to take a lot of images of similar things and in similar ways. This means though that the images do flow nicely together I think and I like the style I took them in. It will definitely have a different feel if I took them using a film camera, especially large format as instead of just taking snapshots I would have taken a lot longer to pick where I wanted to take a picture because of the cost of film and the time it takes to actually take the picture.

Overall I am happy with the images I took, and I think that the project is going in the right direction. I found it interesting to take the pictures with others who have not been there in mind. In some ways I was thinking about how I would be presenting the town, and what people would think of it from just seeing the pictures I took.

Martin Parr – Think of Scotland

Think of Scotland is work by Martin Parr which has been gathered for around 25 years. Travelling back to it for holidays taking photographs of whatever interested him. This is the third ‘Think of…’ book Parr has done and I think each has been very interesting. Parr uses a digital camera now, rather than a 35mm, a Canon 5D Mark 4. Over the summer I only really used my digital camera as I got a new one, I do enjoy using film but with how accessible and quick it is to use digital I can understand why Parr made the switch. I want to experiment with different mediums for my final project to find what would work best, especially as I might want to print them quite big, and I’m also thinking of making a book as well.

I have found Parr’s work alongside others very inspiring, I’m soon going to be able to spend time photographing Long Sutton to explore the areas that I want to focus on, unfortunatley we don’t have any events happening that I could photograph but will have to see. I have taken some pictures of the town centre but I think I’m going to focus on landscapes and details rather than people to see how they could be put together.


Martin Parr – Oxford

Here shown above is a selection of images from some of Parr’s more recent work which is a book, made from around 100 images showing and documenting an academic year at the university in Oxford. The work has been exhibited at Blackwell Hall from 8th September to 22nd of October, so it finished recently.

Oxford is one of the most highly rated Universities and from what I’ve seen you don’t really see what goes on there during the academic year, it’s an interesting insight into it. I haven’t found any of the exhibition shots to see how it was presented but I found the image found on Martin Parr’s website very interesting, they show several different sides of the university from the formal events to the students letting loose and enjoying themselves.  The images are far from what I picture when thinking of the prestigious University, you think of it as a very posh establishment, which on the outside it very much is with the traditions they have. Parr has very often been accused of mocking his subject matter, but from what I have seen of the images for this project I don’t sense that this is something he was doing. It’s fascinating to just see little snippets of what life is like there, as I think it is anywhere that you haven’t been an experienced yourself, and also for places you’ve been because you can see how others experience the same place.

Most of the images are not posed which I think makes them feel quite real, they’re not always noticing and looking at the camera, it’s just life as it happens. I think it’ll be interesting in my own work to do a bit of both to experiment with capturing the town as it is, but also have posed images of some residents as we chat about their thoughts on the town.

Illuminating India

Illuminating India is an exhibition currently on at the Science Museum, it showcases photography work and paintings from 1857 to the present day. The images shown above are a couple of exhibition shots, the one on the left is more recent work and on the right is more of the historical photography work.

My main interest for going to this exhibition was to see more of the recent work shown, I was interested in the historical photography as it’s always interesting to see how the medium was used, especially in different countries. As I have been looking at how different photographers represent specific places and people it was interesting to see the different current work that is being made that I wouldn’t necessarily be aware of otherwise. The work shown in the left image is by Vasantha Yogananthan, titled A Myth of Two Souls (2013-present) which was inspired by the tale of The Ramayana. The text and image have been presented together by having parts of the story shown on title cards that stick out underneath the photographs. The images have been printed at different sizes and also at different levels so you follow the story up and down, with both large and small photographs to look at. Although I liked the photography and the subject matter, I wasn’t sure about how the text was presented, I didn’t like that they stuck out, I don’t think they work well with how the rest of the work has been placed. It just looks a little messy to me and could have been blended in with the rest better.

Overall I found it interesting to go to the exhibition to see all the different kinds of work presented from India, a side that you don’t always see.


Signs of the Times – Exhibition

In addition to looking at Signs of the Times in book form, I thought I would also look into how it was presented. Above shows the images being presented in the London Underground and at Bus stops as part of ‘Art on the underground’ in 1992 which were probably used to advertise the BBC documentary. The images were originally made for the documentary but Parr also turned them into a book in the same year. The images he took had their first solo exhibition at Beetles and Huxley in 2014.

Above shows some exhibition shots (Available at: as you can see they were all presented in a similar way, with the text accompanying the images presented underneath on the border which is included in the book. There are many ways to put text and images together, and perhaps this worked well because it is similar to how the book is laid out. As I haven’t started working on the project yet I’m not sure whether I will include text, but with pieces of work I have been interested in which puts text and image together, it’s good to see how they have been presented in an exhibition format. For the underground and bus stop images, the text was above the image, but in the exhibition, it was below and a lot smaller. This would probably be so that at the bus stops and underground it needed to be bigger so that people would be able to see what it says, but in an exhibition there’s enough space and time for the audience to get closer and spend more time with the work.

Thomas Ruff at The Whitechapel Gallery

Thomas Ruff is currently having an exhibition of his work made between 1979-2017 at the Whitechapel Gallery. His project Portraits has always been one of my favourites he has created, but have only ever seen them in books or on the internet. It was amazing to be able to see them as they are meant to be seen, they have been printed so big you can walk right up to it and see the detail, but because they are taller you have to be further away to see the whole thing.

Not all of his work is printed the B0 size, some of them are quite small. It’s interesting to think why he decided to do some of the projects large and others smaller. I thought the borders went well with the images and also the wooden coloured frames which were used for most of the work, but with some, they had black ones. It’s helpful to see how they have been presented in different ways and compared to different works I have seen at different exhibitions. I definitely think so far I am planning to print them quite big, but whether it will be Portraits big, or smaller, a similar size to Gregory Crewdson’s work shown at the Photographers Gallery.

Overall I found the exhibition really interesting, I always enjoy seeing the work people have made over a long period of time to see how it changes and develops, and Ruff has made many different pieces.

In This Beautiful Bubble by Eri Morita

“After my husband and I had our daughter in 2005, we decided to move from New York to Maui, then Tokyo, and later Santa Monica. We currently live in San Diego. Raising my daughter in Southern California, I’ve come to realize that her current environment is nothing like that of my own childhood. I grew up in the industrial area of Tokyo. There were many small manufacturers and houses right next to each other. Children ran through narrow alleyways and explored the neighborhood without adult supervision.

On the other hand, here I see rows and rows of beautiful homes. Nature is serene and tranquil. Children live in protected environments. They are given everything they could imagine wanting. The housing boom made it possible for everyone to have a spacious home. Parents drive SUVs to drop kids off at school. There are houses being built on land where there used to be coyotes and bobcats.

One day, another parent from my daughter’s school said, “Someday I want my kids to see the outside of this beautiful bubble.” She grew up in San Diego and is raising her children in the same neighborhood where she grew up. The title of my new series, “In This Beautiful Bubble,” came from this conversation. I am curious to observe how children grow up in this man-made utopia.” (Morita, E. (2013). In This Beautiful Bubble. Available at:

Growing up I saw my own hometown as a bubble, separated from the outside world. It’s so easy to get caught up in the small town life, with all the gossip, everyone knowing everyone and what they’re doing. I found great inspiration from this project and thought the images produced were really interesting to show this suburban life Morita’s children are growing up in. Each person has a different part of their life shown, shooting both indoors and outdoors. I think it will to be based on the person with my own project on where and how I photograph them, but it’s fascinating to see how Morita has presented hers.

The Airmen by Michal Solarski

The Airmen is a collaborative project between Michal Solarski who took the photographs and Joanna Frydel-Solarska wrote the text that goes with it. The project is all about celebrated Polish World War II pilots, both Solarski and Frydel-Solarska would enter their homes and hear the stories from the war.

I found this project very interesting as all the images as shot inside the persons home, which is perhaps what I will be doing for my project. Most of the images are portraits but they have added some pictures of photographs or parts of the persons home. They haven’t put any information on how it was shot in the article on Lenscultures website but I like the way they are composed and that each individual home has its own colour tone. This is perhaps something they couldn’t control however if they were only using the light sources provided rather than bringing their own. Mostly we are taught to make sure that all the tones are the same so that all the images work as a series, but I think in this case it works to give the audience a bit more of a feel of each individual person. I think you can sense more about the home without there being a lot of stage lighting.

It’s also interesting that they have text speaking about their visits to each home and what it was like. Especially with the subject matter it’s fascinating to hear their stories. I think that I want to include text in with my project but I’m not sure how this is going to work in the gallery space. It may mean doing a book to go alongside it.

The New Gypsies by Iain McKell

The New Gypsies is a series of image Iain McKell created during 1986 assigned by The Observer to document the New Age Travellers of the Peace Convoy. During the Summer Solstice, they were traveling to Stonehenge and this journey is what McKell was assigned to photograph. Fifteen years later McKell photographed the same event in 2001 to see how the culture had developed. What fascinated me with this project was seeing into this cultures lifestyle. As McKell was already interested in the culture before he was even assigned to photograph them you see images of someone really embracing and understanding their way of life.

The images he produced make their way of life seem mythical, people living away from urban life and the stresses that come with it. Living a simple life instead. Most of them lived in cities and as a part of a ‘normal’ society but it just didn’t suit them, and I can understand why not. There’s so much going on in cities that I always think it’s nice to get away or visit areas that are less industrialised. Especially as I write this on the fourteenth floor of my halls of residence, I can hear construction work going on, I can see train tracks and tall buildings and the further out I look there are more greenery and trees contrasting against them. It’s easy to imagine why people wouldn’t want to live as part of a city.

I think my research for my final major project is going to be based on how different photographers have photographed specific areas, people, and cultures, different ways of life. The different ways you can go about photographing it and the mediums used or how it’s presented to get inspiration.