The Blue Hour- Simon Norfolk, Photoshoot & Exhibition.

The Blue Hour


What is the blue hour?

The blue hour is a period of the day when the light takes on a strong blue tone, each morning and evening and will normally last for a period of around 40 minutes when the sun significant distance below the horizon and the residual indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue hue.
Not everything can be photographed well in the blue hour. The most common subjects which are good to shoot are cityscapes, buildings-close ups and well lit, bridges, monuments and factories. The focus of the photographs, example the building needs to be lighter and have bright areas but overly bright or the areas will burn out.

Simon Norfolk- Photographer


The photographs on Simon Norfolks webpage are divided into ‘chapters’ which are part of the ‘Et in Arcadia ego’ project attempting to understand how war and the need to fight war has formed out world: how so many spaces we occupy; the technologies we use; and the way we understand ourselves are created by military conflict.
The battlefield of Afganistan and Iraq are the most obvious manifestation of this process. However, just as much ‘battlefields’- landscapes/surfaces created by war- are the extraordinary instant cities thrown up by refugees.

Tne Panorama of the October War of Liberation, Damscus

I was informed of this photographer from a tutor from a past discussion meeting of my project. I was to look into not the what he was photographing and representing but when he decided to photograph his project. Most of his images in his selection of chapters have the blue hue of the sky in his work as if he was shooting within the time frame of the Blue Hour, having the cityscapes, monuments and buildings which have been well lit, stand out. With this type of work photographing was placed, shooting when he does, gives, in my opinion, the image a whole other atmosphere, the bit eerie and a sense of fright.

My Blue Hour shoot

In a previous shoot I had started to experiment (but not knowing) the Blue hour which you can find some images from the ‘Meeting with Stella’ blog post, example…


I had set out to do experiment, in different locations of the blue hour. It’s all about timing and having the right settings on the camera and having the right equipment. My first attempt was in Manchester where I was looking at old and new buildings, I had waited around a long time for the blue hour time frame but unfortunately, on this shoot, I did not have the tripod and with the winter weather it was fairly cloudy and with it being cold, having a focused photography was tricky.


I had intended to do a blue hour shoot in Leeds, but certain circumstances, I came back to Huddersfield. While leaving Huddersfield station I thought it was a good opportunity at the time to get the tripod out and photograph the historical building which was around 4.20pm.


This image will be later shown in the Interim pop-up exhibition.Station a2 size


We as a photography course had decided to do a pop-up exhibition in an empty shop in the Byram Arcade, Huddersfield. We were asked to split into several groups and decided what each group would be doing to contribute to the exhibition, from painting, arranging prints, hanging prints, clean & tidying and take down.
Tutors had asked for us to decided whether to print in A3 or A1 or if a small series of prints to be A4.


I believe the pop-up show was a success, plenty of people turned up and was good to chat to other people and to see what their views are and how they think the show went. Was good to see students from first & second years taking part and viewing the work as it prepares them for what’s to come in the second and final years of university and what they need to plan.


John Davies Photographer

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

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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.



Brian Griffin

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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.



Thomas Struth

Thomas Struth, photographic work titles ‘Unconscious Spaces’ (1977-2012), it is apparent at first viewing the bond between the photography and architecture present.

In the collection of black and white photographs, capturing by travelling around to different places like New York, Tokyo and Naples the images are representing an energy from unveiling these unexpected places around the cities.
After experiencing New York City the intentions and nature of Struth’s photographs became more precise. he began to take interest in the Beaugrenelle Project in Paris. Once in Paris the development of his work became to mix with urban commercial and residential use with distinctively the high-rise towers built around 1970’s. his first set off work was based on contemporary urban planning and structures capturing the early modernism in Paris.

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Eugene Atget

Eugene Atget is a photographer who liked to document street photography back in the late 1800’s. He wanted to document the radical transformation of the streets of Paris before public opposition agreed to the destruction of the historical architectural streets, to disappear with the growth of modernization.

Atget wanted to photograph various courtyards in the historic centre, with its beautiful buildings, bridges, palaces, shops with detailed window display, narrow lanes and passageways intertwining through Paris all of which were to be transformed or even demolished to make room for the bigger, modern, fancier buildings.


A photograph or collection of photographs could always be shared, if no meaning to you, may mean something to someone else. Atget’s work was never explained or achieved recognition when he was alive, only after he passed people became aware of his intentions but his work deserves to have that respect.