As part of my positions and practice learning on my MA course at Falmouth University I was set a micro-commission by a student peer, in this case Chris Northey. I had the choice of two briefs and I chose ‘Dead Spaces’.
Perhaps it was the influence of Halloween and the time of year in general, as I chose this theme to exploit the opportunity to walk through two cemeteries in Birmingham, UK. I acknowledge I created a rather literal translation of the brief. The first visit was shortly after dawn when the sun was bright, but low, in St Peter’s cemetery. The second was at Warstone Cemetery after dark on 5th November. For the latter I asked an assistant along, Edward, who also became the model for the evening, nursing the remote flash and animating the deep darkness of the catacombs and stones.
I used 50mm lenses in both instance as I am deliberately restricting myself to these presently, to remove the ‘laziness’ of a zoom. The f1.4 and 1.8 have enabled very sharp depth of field in most instances.
The challenge for me was the determined choice to shoot in the dark, away from ambient light which made subject focusing, maneuverings and flash control quite tough. At the last minute I remembered a torch which enabled the whole process to be executed.
The shoot captures both solemnity but also the ecology that thrives throughout cemeteries; a visual paradox which has appeal.