Too many photos!
I have now sorted and organised a set of images to represent my walk. Somewhat alarmingly I find that this takes up fifty photos (an average of one every hundred feet or so!), all of which are in the following contact sheets:
At one level this is clearly too much but the number is perhaps inevitable given what I wanted to achieve. To be able to represent the entirety of the chosen walk, and bearing in mind it is a mile or so long, it needs a significant number of pictures in order to make it flow. Apart from what I might call the ‘vignettes’ (for example the street signs) each image contains within it the point from which the next shot was taken. This creates a thread that runs through the whole set and binds it together. Whilst it is not virtual reality this seems to me to make the set more immersive and to lead your eye, and perhaps your mind’s eye, through the walk. The photos effectively act as a map or a guide with which you could find your way if you were physically present.
This number is though clearly far too big to fit the brief and the requirement for a set of six to twelve images. Distilling this full set down to a more acceptable size has been quite difficult. It is particularly hard to maintain the sense of flow and coherence that the full set offers. Nevertheless the final eleven that I have chosen do still, I think, give some sense of the character of the walk:
Batt House Road
The lower ford
Out of the valley
Ridley Old Hall
Into the woods
The 1928 bridge
The bottom of the Scaur
Up the Scaur
To an extent I feel that the project has been a success. Taken individually I do not think that there are any great photographs in their own right. However as a group I feel they do succeed in portraying the walk. What I think has been particularly important in this regard is the use of leading lines to draw you into the frame and on to the next waypoint. Fortunately the roads, paths, fences, hedges and walls have made this relatively easy.
Would I do anything differently if I approached this project again? Having made such a full set, probably yes. I would perhaps concentrate on just a few elements of the walk to bring out its particular characteristics and ‘flavour’, rather than trying to be comprehensive and literal. One of the things that this set lacks is the surrounding scenery and topography (to avoid distraction from the primary aim of the set) but there are places along the walk that could be of interest in their own right, such as the burn that crosses the road a couple of times and a number of old buildings (including a water-mill that possibly dates back to the seventeenth century).
There are of course also lots of other ways I could depict my Square Mile but for now I am reasonably happy with what I have achieved with this particular project.