From the early 1980’s John Davies started documenting aspects of the industrial and urban landscape of Northern England and South Wales.
The beginning of the 21st century, post-industrial cities has started to reinvent their role and image of knowledge and learning, cultural and entertainment along with shopping redevelopments and creatives.
Many developers saw opportunities in transforming buildings which are already there, like run down offices blocks- transformed into apartments, retail and bars.
These two images I’ve chosen as you can see and witness the redevelopment process going on. It also links back to Len Grant as you can see the hoarding he created for the city centre.
As well as Davies work looking at the development process, i have also looked into one of his books ‘The British Landscape’ where theres a collection of photographs ranging from cityscapes e.g. Birmingham to countryside e.g. Lake Distric.
John Davies has been a big influence on my research and accompaning text for my final year Dissertation where i deadicated a chapter on him and his photographic practice, exploring the way people can view his work as there seems to be a story behind each image but have to take the time in looking for what Davies is trying to show his audience.
Len Grant is a manchester based photographer and writer. He specialises in urban renewal and social issues. The work I’m looking into is the work ‘After the Bomb’ series. Grant was commissioned by both Millennium Manchester and Richardson Developments (the developers of The Printworks complex).
They wanted him to photograph the destruction process and rebuild of the buildings destroyed by the IRA bomb on the 15th June 1996. His work was featured on the 100-metre hoarding in the city centre for over two years exhibiting what he’s photographed.
I’ve decided to look at Grant’s work on the redevelopment of Manchester City centre as it is still a recent event and reconstruction. But with this rebuild, it wouldn’t have been necessary until the 15th June, the development is forced. It had to be done.
From researching The Piece Hall in Halifax, my aim is to get access onto the construction site where I can take a good look at the structure and witness the changes taking place. For my final major project (FMP). The work of Brian Griffin and the project based on St Pancras HS1, site of Stratford International station and High Speed One railway.
On his project he created about 165 portrait photographs of the workers and management team of the construction with the workers looking heroic and powerful (Picture above) and the images of Corporate Communications Team (below) feels like the two show a different meaning and presence even though they are part of the same team.
With my own work on Urban Regeneration, the influnce Griffin is having to myself is to capture the work force of The Piece Hall in a way not everyday normal people witness. Yes people see them everyday but do they see what they are doing. Do they see these are the people who are transforming this beautiful building to fit in with the present times changing the place to have unique shops, bars, restaurants. These are the ones with the power to transform and create urban regeneration not the management team behind the scenes.
This is what I want to focus on.
So today I had attended a meeting with another course tutor who hasn’t previously seen my work created so far. While looking through my sketchbooks and research she asked where I was heading and what I wanted to achieve etc. She suggested to look into The Blue Hour and the photographer Simon Norfolk down to viewing one of my images from a contact sheet from Halifax. (see below)
She suggested it could be a good direction to head in and to create a series involving the Blue Hour photographing different places, look at different settings, research and look into time control and make sure I don’t waste any of the sort time available of the Blue Hour.
Taking a visit to Halifax, a historical town with a current ongoing transformation project which fits into my Final Major Project on looking at redevelopment projects in Urban Landscape areas.
On this shoot i decided to go in the afternoon on 12th November from Huddersfield. I came across problems from the start of my journey, first of all there was delays at the train station due to signalling problems between Huddersfield and Leeds no there wasn’t any trains coming in or going out. Signal came back on and train was due 14.50pm. The train had to be swapped several times and eventually left Huddersfield for Halifax around 15.10pm. By the time i get to Halifax its 15.35pm and this time of year it’s dark early and had 30-45 minutes of daylight left to photograph various buildings around Halifax as well as starting to look into the Piece Hall
After the shoot my images can be seen as varied and that viewing its mixed as the photographer (me) still not sure where I’m heading with my work and how to take this further. I need to develop work which shows the viewers something other than just a building.
The Piece Hall, Halifax is a unique Grade I listed building dated back to 1779. The Hall was built by the merchants and manufactures of Halifax as a sales centre and market for local handloom weavers to support the importance of the trading of cloth. Each piece of cloth was produced in the length of 300 yards and sold every Saturday morning for two hours.
The Transformation Project.
The Piece Hall closed on January 16th 2014 to begin the new redevelopment work which will repair any decay which has been allowed to deteriorate physically over time and to conserve the building, to keep its Grade I listing.
For the Transformation Project it’s expected to cost £19 million and be available for public view, spring 2016.
There will be high quality destination with new facilities, shops, restaurants, events and house the Heritage Interpretation and learning centre.
They want to create a place where people can sit, eat or just to enjoy the surrounding and atmosphere, providing a place of historic importance and tranquility.