So I have come to the end of Placing Photographic Practice in Context.
I have done my own directed research into the Site of Hillfields; looking at the Policing and what Hillfields today is now recognised for. It was when I came across new plans from Whitefriars to build a rough sleepers hostel in Hillfields that I directed my research onto this area. Getting in contact with Cyrenians with Helen Fairhurst whom gave me information about the charity and some real stories; moving then to the capable hands of Karen from Norton House, the rough sleepers HQ for Cyrenians. She shown me round and told me exactly what they aim to do for the rough sleepers. However, despite trying, I unfortunately didn’t get any further meeting any of the rough sleepers through them or going on a rough sleepers walk.
Hitting a dead end I had to re-evaluate my idea as before I wanted to meet the rough sleepers and find out their story to share because they are more than a rough sleeper. To which I decided to look at the smaller, less obvious things. Where the rough sleepers are seen, what artefacts are there etc. I felt that I did lose confidence in this and that my digital images are not to my liking; however, I feel that the concept and presentation of this successful. I think that having debate over what information is revealed was important; having the rough sleepers part of the artwork without discrimination or negativity.
Although off my own back I spoke to two rough sleepers who did talk openly about their homelessness, I decided that it is a very difficult position to be in. I am glad that I didn’t bombard them with a camera because they are vulnerable people, some are in such dark places that my images would look sad and generic. Which isn’t necessarily what I want my images to read. As an outsider I do pity them, and with my essay argument, the photographer’s opinions and ideas are put into the image making of a portrait. Thus, looking more objectively at the sites I think it was possibly the better way to go.
In the last week of the project, I went to the food handout which Anesis organises on a weekly basis to feed the homeless and vulnerable. This added a new dimension of community and a place of prosperity. Thus, deciding that this is my site in which, not only does one of my images come from, but also where my photographs would be exhibited.
Overall, yes, I started out with a different idea in mind, however, over time and with the research I have done, I am happier with my concept and execution. Although, having had a little more time, I feel that some of my images could be much better. But I must not forget that although they aren’t always ‘perfectly lit or composed’ the images are fleeting; when returning to the sites, the street cleaners had done their job to eradicate what I was looking for.