I work on photographic projects in what I once heard described as a pyramid method. The final portfolio will contain images that:
- Set the scene (the tip of the pyramid),
- Tell the story, and
- Add mood and atmosphere (the bottom of the pyramid).
Although I am conscious of the types of images I want to include in a project, the act of taking photographs and creating images random. When I have assembled a collection of photographs and get down to the act of creating images I usually go where the mood takes me. Some days I can work on images that cover the entire range of the “pyramid”, while on other occasions I might prefer to work on one particular element.
The Lonaconing Silk Mill project I am currently working on is no exception to the process I have described, except that recently I have been spending most of my time working with photographs that although similar in subject have subtle, yet important differences.
The walls of the silk mill are adorned with signs and notices instructing the long gone workers in the do’s and do not of company policy. Desks are scattered with notebooks that include such things as supervisor notes, employee pay rates and plans for a Christmas party that never happened. Each gives their own insight into the daily lives of those that worked in the mill. While wide angle images of the mill building will help establish the scene and images of the machinery will give some idea of the purpose of the mill, I think such human elements give the place a life. Without human elements the images will tell a story of nothing more than bricks, mortar and machines. Therefore, I think the reason I am spending so much time creating images from these subjects is because they will not only help tell the story I am slowly developing in my mind but they will also help define and add perspective to the story. They will hopefully add mood and feeling to the final portfolio that I will create.
The following are examples of the images of signs and notices that I have created.