2. Submission

Journey to Mammon

brief – submission – blog – feedback – rework

Introduction – Photographs – Reflection – References

Contact sheets are available here.


[3Feb22] The idea for this Assignment sprang from a piece of junk mail showing the towers of Canary Wharf from Greenwich Observatory. Aware of the significance of the financial centre to the country’s prosperity and how this was encapsulated by its domination of the skyline, I decided to journey towards the towers, photographing  landmarks and always showing the towers in the background. This was soon refined to seeking public art for the foreground subject.

I found it incongruous at first to make vertical images of instinctually horizontal subjects, but as both highrise buildings and most public art is taller than it is wide, this was the logical choice. And consistency of format is important (or was, at least to my EyV tutor). I took some reassurance from my recent acquaintance with Robert Adams Listening to the River: Seasons in the American West (1994) which is comprised entirely of vertical landscapes.

It is an interesting experience to express such a duality: ostensibly seeking public art for subjects, I was actually photographing the towers of Canary Wharf. In retrospect, I seem to take this approach quite often, imagining viewers thinking that they (or perhaps I) am/are looking at one thing, then gradually realize that the underlying subject is something else. Examples are the overlays in I&P Assignment 5; dogs or people in I&P Assignment 3 and, to some extent, merging my body with a statue in C&N Assignment (Blackburn 2021a, 2021b and 2020).
Background as subject is confusing to photograph and hopefully it also confounds the audience a little.

An early intention was to label the images statue name and canary wharf but that would belabour the point and so it is just artist, statue name and location.

I am not aware of any direct read-across to the photographers in Part 2, although I admire the work of Weston and Baltz. I would still cite Brandt and Kenna as landscape influencers. My journey was more modest and local than those described in Part 2 and the photographs concentrated on the inanimate.

This series is complete both in terms of journey’s end and the exhaustion of target subjects, but the device of showing two subjects, one variable, one (in some way) fixed has potential for re-use.

Word count 358

Introduction – Photographs – Reflection – References


Introduction – Photographs – Reflection – References


In the reflection on the first Assignment (Blackburn, 2021c), I referred to and defined “strong” images and I intend to expand on that idea as this course progresses. Ideally, each image in a submission should have merit in itself and also contribute to the series as a whole. John Szarkowski wrote of photography as an “act of pointing” (quoted by Stephen Shore in his memorial essay for Szarkowski, 2008) that might “elevate the act of pointing to a creative plane”, bringing sights ” to our attention … that had been unseen before, or seen dumbly, without comprehension.” Making photographs that provide an original view of their subjects is one of my aims in depicting urban landscapes. I believe that this series does so.

As noted in the introduction, this task, as the plan developed, provided an interesting challenge in always showing two subjects, one of them constant. While I have learned on this course to be more aware of backgrounds, my approach for this assignment promoted the background to equal status with the foreground subject. The implications and demands which that made on lens choice and depth of field added to the creative options.

Looking at progress on the Learning Outcomes:

L01 visual and conceptual strategies – this is, as far as I am aware, an original approach. If it is derivative, it is unknowingly so.

L02 social, cultural and ethical considerations – the subtle secondary purpose of this series is to imply the pervasive power, influence and effect of the financial service industries in the UK economy. The images seek to do this by stealth and the casual viewer may remain unaware of the intention.

L03 exploring a range of ideas – The nature of this series, while retaining its core concept of dual subjects, developed a more coherent purpose over the first few forays. The progress and thought processes during the project are described in the online blog (Blackburn, 2021d).

L04 research, managing time and resources – Seven visits were made to various sites for this Assignment. The main constraints were personal health issues and the weather: happily, Covid restrictions (other than those of personal choice) were lifted towards the end of the process.

L05 autonomy, voice, and communication 
I continue to interact wherever possible with fellow students in general and course-specific forums and in the wider photographic circles of LIP (London Independent Photography), RPS (Royal Photographic Society) and elsewhere.
I am content with progress on my autonomous voice.

Word count 403

Introduction – Photographs – Reflection – References

LPE Assignment 2 References

Alexander, J, Conroy, A, Hughes, A, & Lundy, G (2019) Landscape, Place and Environment [LPE]. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.

Blackburn, N. (2020) Submission [online]. cn.baphot.co.uk. Available from http://cn.baphot.co.uk/?page_id=62 [Accessed 26 February 2022].

Blackburn, N. (2021a) Eltham Archive [online]. ip.baphot.co.uk. Available from http://ip.baphot.co.uk/?page_id=139 [Accessed 26 February 2022].

Blackburn, N. (2021b) 100 Dogs [online]. ip.baphot.co.uk. Available from http://ip.baphot.co.uk/?page_id=101 [Accessed 26 February 2022].

Blackburn, N. (2021c) Aspects of the Vauxhall Crossing [online]. lpe.baphot.co.uk. Available from http://lpe.baphot.co.uk/assignments/assignment-1/asg1-submission/#ref [Accessed 26 February 2022].

Blackburn, N. (2021d) Blog [online]. lpe.baphot.co.uk. Available from http://lpe.baphot.co.uk/assignments/assignment-2/asg2-blog/ [Accessed 26 February 2022].

Canary Wharf Group (n.d.) Canary Wharf Art Map [online]. canarywharf.com. Available from https://canarywharf.com/artwork/art-map/ [Accessed 11 February 2022].

Greenwich Peninsula (2022) CLUBHOUSE ON THE TIDE [online]. greenwichpeninsula.co.uk. Available from https://www.greenwichpeninsula.co.uk/whats-on/events/clubhouse-on-the-tide/ [Accessed 11 February 2022].

Shore, S. (2008) Memorial for John Szarkowski, Century Association Yearbook [online]. stephenshore.net. Available from http://stephenshore.net/writing/szarkowski.pdf [Accessed 25 February 2022].

The Line (n.d.) The Line, Map [online]. the-line.org. Available from https://the-line.org/map/ [Accessed 11 February 2022].

Wikipedia (2022a) List of public art in the Royal Borough of Greenwich [online]. wikipedia.org. Available from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_public_art_in_the_Royal_Borough_of_Greenwich [Accessed 11 February 2022].

Wikipedia (2022b) List of public art in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets [online]. wikipedia.org. Available from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_public_art_in_the_London_Borough_of_Tower_Hamlets [Accessed 11 February 2022].