A few miles from my home stands an old lime works which was closed around the mid seventies. In the quarry itself some heavy machinery stands rotting away and in the works, where the lime was processed, several buildings and a row of kilns can still be seen. The whole place has a quiet, ghostly feel to it. Yet everywhere are little reminders of human activity, be it from the days of the lime works or the more recent mark of the vandal or fly-tipper.
I chose this site as the subject matter for my final assignment feeling it provided the opportunity to exploit many of the disciplines that were covered throughout Digital Photographic Practice. The medium had of course to be black and white. With so many textures to be found, black and white editing would surely be the best way to show them. Colour would also present a huge distraction as there were so many colours to be seen in the rotting, decaying materials. Black and white editing would also go a long way to help conveying some of the solemn atmosphere.
Several visits were made over the course of some six months and the site was photographed from all angles and viewpoints, capturing wide through to detail shots. Most photography was carried out with a small collection of lenses, a 17 to 40mm zoom, a 50mm prime and a 35mm prime, sometimes using a tripod, sometimes hand held. Editing then started on the substantial collection of images.
My original intention had been to keep the image ratio the same as the camera’s but as I was editing and experimenting I performed a 1 x 1 crop on one image. This was very effective and I decided to make the entire collection square format. I wish I had thought of this before shooting as I made the job of editing much more difficult for myself! As I had not shot for the square format there were several shots I wanted to use that just did not work. to make matters worse, it proved subsequently impossible to go back and get the shots again as we had started what must be the wettest winter ever! oh well.
As I was converting my images to black and white, I found a little technique that added a lot of drama to each picture. I deliberately did not add any grain to the shots as I am not trying to ‘fake’ an old photo, rather just trying to catch the atmosphere and textures.
The finished images can be seen below. I am happy with the end result - in fact happier than I was when I started editing. At one point I had almost lost faith in the project, maybe through familiarity, maybe just in the concept but as I carried on editing the original idea started to push through again. I hope this comes across in this series, which is meant to be viewed starting from the top image and proceeding downwards.