Assignment 1

 ‘Square Mile’


In our earliest years we know a patch of ground in a detail we will never know anywhere again – site of discovery and putting names to things – people and places – working with difference and similitude – favourite places, places to avoid – neighbours and their habits, gestures and stories – textures, smells – also of play, imagination, experiment – finding the best location for doing things – creating worlds under our own control, fantasy landscapes. (Professor Mike Pearson)
Photographers and artists have always found inspiration in their immediate location. There is a concept within Welsh culture called Y Filltir Sgwar (The Square Mile), described above by Professor Mike Pearson. It is the intimate connection between people and their childhood ‘home’ surroundings. Use this ‘sense of place’ as the starting point for your first assignment.
Make a series of six to twelve photographs in response to the concept of ‘The Square Mile’. Use this as an opportunity to take a fresh and experimental look at your surroundings. You may wish to re-trace places you know very well, examining how they might have changed; or, particularly if you’re in a new environment, you may wish to use photography to explore your new surroundings and meet some of the people around you.
You may wish to explore the concept of Y Filltir Sgwar further, or you may deviate from this. You may want to focus on architecture and landscape, or you may prefer to photograph the people who you think have an interesting connection to the square mile within which you currently find yourself. You’ll need to shoot many more than 12 photographs from which to make your final edit. You should try to make your final set of photographs ‘sit’ together as a series. Don’t necessarily think about making a number of individual pictures, but rather a set of photographs that complement one another and collectively communicate your idea. You may wish to title your photographs or write short captions if you feel this is appropriate and would benefit the viewer.
Think of this assignment as a way to introduce yourself to your tutor. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to respond to this brief, as long as you try to push yourself out of your comfort zone in terms of subject matter. Try out new approaches rather than sticking to what you think you’re most successful at.


Initial Response 

When I first read the brief, it made me feel enthusiastic. The thought of shooting photographs in locations which already have meaning to me, makes me motivated to provide an insight to my story and the places I used as my playground for many years.
Instantly, many ideas and thoughts crossed my mind of where, who and what to take photos of. I live in a small town in the heart of Devon called Buckfastleigh. Here I grew up from the age of 5 after moving from Southampton.
I have made many friends and have many memories throughout the years of getting up to mischief in the town.
The ‘Square Mile’ gives me a chance to showcase my photography skills and the place in which I have so much history with.


Mind Map

For me, a mind map helps me with my initial ideas and some key points to keep in mind when doing a shoot. Below you can see my mind map for the ‘Square Mile’.  I have kept it simple and didn’t over complicate it as I am also going to do a shoot plan in which I will more specifically explain my aims for this shoot.

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 11.20.47

Mind Map of Ideas

Here are some of my first ideas that popped into my head of where and what to shoot for my first shoot. When I do my shoot plan I will have decided by then what it is I am going to focus on more specifically.

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 11.38.39.png


When it comes to research, I have done a lot of artist research before. Having done GCSE Photography and A level, I have researched many artists from many different styles of photography. For this particular assignment, a photographer I discovered through the OCA came to my attention, called Karen Knorr.

Karen’s work is very impressive and you can really feel the power of her photographs. The reason I chose her to focus on for my square mile assignment is because I feel her photographs focus on a particular object in the centre of her photos. This really strikes me because the object stands out amongst the vibrant background of the image.  Her images contain various patterns and some are even framed within her images. Other parts of her work are black and white which gives a real sense to the meaning of the image and the positioning.

You can check out her work here:

Here you can see some annotation I did of her images: Karen Knorr Research


Shoot Plan

For this shoot I am going to shoot within a mile of my home, where I grew up for so many years. I am going to use my Canon 77D with my 18-55mm Lens. I am going to take numerous shots from different angles, through different modes. I am going to do this because I want to experiment with my camera to see what kind of images are best produced for this type of photography. I have decided I am going to do the shoot leading from my house to the skatepark. My reason for this is because this journey was a very big part of my childhood. I used to scoot down on my scooter to the skatepark for many years to meet up with my mates. Some of my best memories were created there. The journey to the skatepark takes me through the town and is where I used to ride through as fast as I could.

For this shoot, I will also explore the surrounding area where I also used to hang out, just in case those images come out better.

I hope to use inspiration from Karen’s work to focus on a point in the picture and to help with the positioning of my shots.


Contact Sheet

Please click the link to view the contact sheet for this shoot. Contact Sheet


Shoot – Finals

Final 1 – The Bus Stop We Would Race Through Like A Formula One Tunnel On Our Scooters On Our Journey To The Skatepark





Final 2 –  The Red Post Box Used As A Finishing Line For Racing Through The Town





Final 3 –  The Car Park Corner





Final 4 –  The Old Entrance Overgrown 





Final 5 – The Beaten Conditions Of Use Sign





Final 6 –  The Park





Final 7 –  The Old Park Bench. When We Didn’t Scoot, We Chilled.





Final 8 –  Shooting Hoops Before Leaving The Skatepark





Final 9 – Way Back Home





Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed


Photo 1: 

Aperture: 8.0
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/320

Photo 2:

Aperture: 8.0
ISO: 125
Shutter Speed: 1/200

Photo 3:

Aperture: 4.0
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/500

Photo 4:

Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/125

Photo 5:

Aperture: 4.5
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/500

Photo 6:

Aperture: 8.0
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/125

Photo 7:

Aperture: 9.0
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/160

Photo 8:

Aperture: 4.5
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/400

Photo 9:

Aperture: 4.5
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1/500


How I Edited My Photos


You can see how I have edited my photos here: Step by Step- Editing Photos



For my first project I feel that I have done very well. Whilst finding my feet in the first assignment and finding out what is expected of me, I can thankfully say I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. 

The brief of the first assignment surprised me, and I saw it as an amazing opportunity to start the ball rolling with something so personal to share. 

Karen Knorr’s work inspired me to try the style in which she incorporates into her images. When I edited my images, I focused on making them black and white like she had done in some of hers.

What I really liked about my shoot is how the images interlock with one another and form a journey from one destination to another. I also feel that the boarders around the image give it that polaroid image affect which people quite often associate with memories and older images.

I feel that the images could have been sharper and some edits better as a final piece because of this. If I was to refine this project, this is definitely something I would have looked into as I tried to use the sharpen tool on Photoshop but it didn’t quiet have the affect I wanted it to.

In conclusion, this project has helped me gain an understanding of what kind of work I will encounter in the future on this course and I am very excited to start with the other projects and assignments.



© Lewis.Gibson.Photography.2019

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