Friday, 22 June 2012


So, 'Barbed' provides a happy distraction from the Domestic Sublime series, but is sort of connected too. It is something I've been meaning to progress for a little while. I had intended to pursue it on the large format camera. But realised the clarity is less important with this series because of the short depth of field and I wanted to test the concept anyway.

As with any new project, it's difficult to get a sense of how you feel about it early on.  I have enjoyed putting it together because it has lifted me out of self-made 'stalemate'. But I can see it might have its own merits too.

The Concept
The project is called 'barbed' and as you might have guessed from the image, it focusses on barbed wire...I liked the idea of something so 'evil' as barbed wire being photographed in such a way that it transforms it in to something more beautiful and interesting, and perhaps even bestow it with some anthropomorphic qualities...taking the lens' gaze away from the Lakeland landscape. Ha, managed it, by hook or by crook...

The idea was borne out of recent turbulence arising from my attendance of, and outfall thereof, the Roger Ballen masterclass. It is the concept of 'simplicity' that was sent home with me, bleating loudly out of my rucksack! Out of sheer badness, I think I chose something as boring as a wire fence which I thought I couldn't possibly complicate...but the idea kind of grew on me.

So from the moment of composing the image, to cropping and post-processing, this mantra, Keep It Simple, played in my mind...refine and minimise...and so I have taken a methodical and systematic approach to my photography...deciding what goes in each image, what doesn't and why to both.

Depending on how the idea matures, I may pursue this for assignment three (linking theme).

Technical and Aesthetic Decisions

After trying a variety of formats, I have finally settled on a square format. I'm not sure if this is because of the angularity of wire fencing and the symmetry/asymmetry it highlights, or how I have composed the images, but whatever the reason, it just seemed to work better.  

The short depth of field was selected to draw attention to the wire and not the backdrop. I tried both colour and monochrome but given the receding colour of the wire and dominant colours of meadows and lush countryside behind I decided to retain focus on the wire by desaturating. How I have composed the image is I suppose the newest addition to my approach.  I have been systematic and disciplined as to where in the image the barbed wire sits and have been consistent throughout, creating a typological series I suppose. To make the wire a stable or constant in the image I think highlights fascinating 'characteristics' in each wire. Anyway, you kind of get my drift.

The Video
This is my first 'public' video, well, film of still images.  It is a trial really to see how it works. There is a problem with the quality in some of the dark areas that seem to be distorting.  The image files are fine but when I import in to imovie it does it. I'm not sure if I can get around this or not. Again, you'll hopefully get what I'm trying to achieve.

Barbed from marmalade on Vimeo.


  1. You've managed to make me feel friendly towards barbed wire! the music fits well.

  2. Personally I like this type of subversion of the idyll - sort of "taking it back". I do feel that there is an intrinsic link to DS. On the video I felt as if I needed slightly longer to view the stills - just my view.

  3. Funny really, I'm trying my very best to photograph the lakes in anything other than picturesque and what do I go and do with barbed wire!!!...I do like how the barbed imitates nature and repells it in equal measure. Thanks for commenting Catherine and John.