Thursday, July 21, 2011

Assignment 1: Conceptual Development

LEGACY: something left or handed down by a predecessor (OED)

It is good politics to talk about the legacy that is left by great public works, in the UK forests have been felled to provide the paper to pontificate about the future legacy of the 2012 Olympics.  Perhaps this is justified and the regeneration of London's East End will continue post 2012 spurred by the facilities left by the upcoming games.  Alternatively London might end up with the white elephant many cities endure after the euphoria of the games is over, the Dome is an unfortunate parallel.

In the case of my home town, Munich, this has not been the case, nearly 40 years on from the 1972 games,  the Olympic Park and adjacent village have become vibrant centres for leisure and community.  Some of the infrastructure is ageing, however, building projects are springing up to revitalize the sites and the future looks very sound.

The goal of this assignment is to reflect this vitality and ongoing development in a series of photographs that also capture the spirit of Summer in the city.  What I must do is to juxtapose the current and future use of the sites with the landscape and architecture created for the 1972 games.  First of all I would like to briefly dwell upon the concept of legacy and what it means to me in the context of this assignment.  Above, I have written the definition of the word as found in the OED, ignoring the alternate legal definition concerning wills.  Building on this, here are the legacies that I want my work to illustrate:
  1. What the games site left behind for the inhabitants of the whole city to enjoy
  2. How the village has transformed into a small town supporting 10,000 inhabitants
  3. How the legacy is being maintained and extended, as the site continues to be developed
  4. The artistic legacy of the buildings, unique examples of architecture
  5. The integration with industry (this needs some thought, but I want to tie BMW into this)
  6. The legacy the inhabitants leave to the future through recycling
Underpinning this, is the legacy of the events only 30 years before the games, tying back to the Nazi era and the destruction of the old city, on whose rubble and bones the Olympic Park is now built.

There are risks in what I am planning, I have to avoid this being a travelogue or containing too great an element of social documentary.  My current thoughts trend in the direction of producing a series of extremely well crafted shots of the different games sites focusing upon the formal properties of the photographs.  
Geometry and Symmetry in a man made Landscape.
I am also not viewing this as a "book" project, by which I mean that I do not plan to constrain my approach to fixed size or aspect ratio.  The early exercises encouraged experimentation with aspect ratio and within reason I plan to continue in that vein, working in Landscape and Portrait, exploiting panorama or square framing, as the subject demands.  I understand that this will sacrifice a degree of coherency in presentation, but that is not uncommon in photographers work I have recently been studying, notably Peter Schloer.

I have started to evolve a shot list and it is my intent to plan my shots in advance and then create what I envisioned.  This does not prevent me from utilizing serendipity, however, I want my modus operandi to be one of careful crafting, rather than a landscape interpretation of the street style.

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