Monday, 15 March 2010

The Belfast Concept

After our session on wednesday I went and printed all my B&W photographs on A4 paper.

My original aim in taking the photographs was to capture where 'things meet' (protestants & Catholics) therefore I only selected the photographs which made a solid divide through the whole image.

Abstract photography provided the opportunity to capture a personal unique perspective of Belfast. In taking the photographs I was looking for significance in the mundane and ordinary using composition, lighting, layout and texture.

I stuck all the photos on my wall and experimented with different concepts, orders, directions, rotations, patterns etc. When I placed all the photographs in a horizontal line and rotated the images accordingly to match up the division line I realised that as an overall piece this created a seamless thread joining all the photographs together.

It was a challenge in selecting the order of the photographs as some images work better than others together to create the solid line through the centre. When I sat back and looked at the arrangement of the images I realised that to me this concept represented Belfast. When you bring together photographs of divisions, collisions, separations, you create a single thread that links them all together. Without having that contrast, the conflict, the barrier, you would never create that unity. That single thread creates greater strength.

This signifies that Belfast could be a stronger place in terms of relationship, and attitude due to its areas of weakness. The thread running through the middle is an element both sides experience and have in common.

The continuous line that runs through the centre of the photographs represents the division in Belfast. It is consistant and strong and symbolises that Belfast have always had divions, Belfast will always be remembered for divisions and Belfast will continue to have divisions. If Belfast recognise and respect these divisions by stepping back they can see that the divisions have have created a single thread that runs through the city generating great strength.

Although this thread represents Belfast's history, present and future, what is really important is the people either side of this line. It is the people on either side of this thread that continue to demonstrate Belfast's strength. I would show this by the use of text on either side of the line. Quotations, stories, memories, opinions, personal interviews. The line is always going to be there, however the people to talk about Belfast, not specifically the political / religious divisions.

Together the line and text would take the reader through a narrative. The art will be making the line seamless taking the viewer on a journey. At this point the black and white photos work best. It signifies Belfast's distinct contrast between two sides however, almost in every case, it demonstrates that there are shades of grey. This is reflected in my Northern Ireland segregation maps.

I like how the black and white photographs make the audience work to interpret the content. By injecting colour, it can often give the picture away to easily. I opted against using flag colours as it makes the project too obviously political and I would like the audience to interpret the meaning of the images themselves. The territory colours having such significant meaning in Belfast I am reluctant to use them as I would be worried of causing any offense. If I were to include colour through the images it would begin to influence the photographs I took and I must remember the main purpose of the photography is to capture things 'that meet'.

With the photographs in Black and white they are not detracting from the importance of the words.


Belfast is notorious for division,

Together division can create great strength,

Strength is reflected in the people of Belfast.

I think the combination of the back and white photographs representing something of a taboo subject in Northern Ireland would be balanced out by the warmth of the personal quotations.

Overall I think the abstract photography, the personal words and the following of the line through the book would generate an interesting narrative, of my own personal representation of Belfast.

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