3. Blog

Spaces to Palaces

brief – submission – blog – feedback 

Brief

Spaces to Places
Within a series of up to 12 photographs , explore a landscape, or a small part of a landscape, which you believe to have some kind of significance. This may be a landscape with which you have a personal relationship, or it may be somewhere that is more widely known. You may wish to begin your research with your findings from the local history exercise earlier.
The objective of this assignment is to engage with the question of how a ‘space’ becomes a ‘place’. Your project should put into practice the idea that a ‘place’ is a constructed, subjective term that, for whatever reason (political, industrial, mythological, environmental), is imposed upon, or becomes associated with a particular ‘space’. This may be a very specific location, or it may be a more generic type of space.
You’re free to approach this project with whatever strategy you feel is appropriate to your subject matter.
Introduce your work with a supporting text (around 500 words ), as in previous assignments.
Send your work and your supporting text, as well as extracts from your learning log or link to your blog, to your tutor by the method you have agreed with them.
You don’t need to wait for your tutor’s response before starting Part Four.
Reflection Don’t forget to look at the assessment criteria before you proceed. Assess the work you have produced against these criteria and make notes in your learning log.

LP&E, p.133

Initial thoughts

[1Mar22] A space (especially a prime piece of real estate) can become a series of spaces, from pasture to palace to playground of the rich, to English Heritage™ playground for the middle classes.

[3Mar] The object of this assignment, which will be submitted 7 weeks from now is a local landmark and tourist attraction, Eltham Palace. I am by no means sure what form the submission will take, other than it will include photographs that I take over the next few weeks juxtaposed with old third-party photographs and probably other graphical items in order to explore changes or the absence of change.
It is likely that the newly-taken images will be submitted in colour.


Batch 1, 4th March 2022, Eltham Palace

Contact Sheets

[13Mar] I am quite taken aback by the intricate beauty of the hammerbeam roof (fig. B1-1). If I were to submit one image for this assignment, this would be it. B1-1 was taken from the gallery at one end: I tried to photograph it vertically from the floor below, but need to return with a wider lens.

Fig. B1-2, from the hall, is the only piece of furniture that the guide was aware of that was contemporary with the original users of the hall, that is, early royals. The intention is to contrast this with one of the Courtaulds art deco pieces. This is surrounded by keep off ropes (fig. B1-3) – I’ll try a quit day and see if I can persuade the guard to remove them to allow a better angle. Perhaps a detail would work better.

Ultimately, the pictures to be taken depend upon the earlier images chosen. The is a long corridor full of prints (figs. B1-4 through B7) and I have been amassing postcards (figs. B1a-1 through 2). I have books to search too.

A few subjects arise from the efforts so far — furniture, Hammerbeam roof, view from the moat bridge, Prince John’s Palace interior and exterior. There follows a section for each.

[14Mar] Consider trying four exterior viewpoints, N-S-E-W.

More cards

Layout

[22Mar] The intended layout for the project (if it were displayed physically) is a table or matrix with images ordered chronologically on the horizontal axis and a separate row for the various subjects.

The subject rows envisaged are:
Exterior North, South, East West (not necessarily in that order)
View over moat
Old hall
Hammerbeam roof (including bomb damage and maybe the bomb shelter)
furniture

Some rows will be longer than others. Maybe align the dates (or periods).

If the images were displayed in a corner, the “fold” could be on the transformation from ancient (Kings) to modern (Courtaulds). This would:
1. make them all (more or less) visible at once (benefit);
2. restrict the viewing to one or two people (negative);
3. symbolise the turning of a corner when the site was renewed and transformed (benefit).


Batch 2, 20th March 2022, Eltham Palace

Contact Sheets

[4Apr] I had several aims for this visit:
the Hammerbeam roof with a wider lens;
begin the exterior shots with comparisons to hand; photograph the archive images shown in the Hall gallery.
All these were covered and, in addition the bomb shelter with the billiard room and a piece of art deco furniture to contrast with the table in the Hall.

The gallery archive should be retaken with a wide prime lens as the images are large and unlit.

Batch 3, 26th March 2022, Eltham Palace

Contact Sheets

[5Apr] The intention on this outing was to circle the building and photograph all sides not yet taken, then seek historic images to match them. It would, perhaps, be worth loading a compass app on my telephone and photograph from the cardinal points for reference as the descriptions on some of the archive materials are confusing (or, I think, confused).


Batch 4, 5th April 2022, Eltham Library

Contact Sheets

[5Apr] To the local library in search of historic source images. I successful visit for both new images and further details on some images photographed on the walls of Eltham Palace in Batch 2. Two main inputs were available a 1960 book by Roy Brook (images B4-1 through B4-13) and a loose-leaf file of miscellaneous leaflets and photocopies accumulated by the library (images B4-14 through B4-22).

The first surprise to note is that B4-4 is attributed to JMW Turner. It’s a shame there’s no Constable, as he’s come up a couple of times on the course and I could have parked a tank on his lawna la Kennard (Part 3), fig. B1, in honour of and in solidarity with the defenders of Ukraine.

[6Apr] And one other source, having found one Turner, another view, inside the Hall was found online, fig. B4-23 – link.

The project is led by the source materials, so these should be examined for prospects.

B4-2 – is the oldest known image of the site, but difficult to reproduce as the are no surviving comparisons and no similar viewpoint available. ✘
B4-3 – approximates to B3-4, South West. ✓
B4-4 – the Turner is North East and from around the position of the new entrance, see B1 above, behind the second tank. ✓
B4-5 – this is a reproduction of B1-4 and closer to North than NE (see the plan, fig. A2). Obstructed by trees, but worth a try. ?
B4-6 – might be worth a try but difficult to access. North. ?
B4-7 – not enough remains to be viable, looking South from near the main entrance. ✘
B4-8 – Strong candidate. Interior. ✓
B4-9 – mundane interior ✘
B4-10 – see B2-4, not a revealing view ✘
B4-11 – this is potentially one of the most interesting. South ✓
B4-12 – there are better source views, see B2-6. ✘
B4-13 – there is a similar, superior, Turner picture, B4-24. ✘
B4-14 – similar to B4-3 ✓
B4-15 – another good one from the South, see B3-7 ✓
B4-16 – not viable ✘
B4-17 – not viable ✘
B4-18 – could be useful. North ✓
B4-19 – missing the houses, might work. Northish. ✓
B4-20 – probably not ✘
B4-21 – fictional ✘ unless compared to a wedding shot.
B4-22 – with 3 and 14 ✓
B4-23 – a gem ✓

[6Apr] Next step – integrate previous source material with this list, continue to search, especially for Turners. Plan the next batches to finish the project.

Source material

[11Apr] New source material.


Batch 5, 12th April 2022, text

Contact Sheets

[12Apr] An adjustment on the project presentation. If it is driven by source material then there is a danger of being overweight on the Great Hall interior and exteriors which will unbalance the display with some rows too long. For today’s visit, I photographed the exterior at the main compass points and noted the compass points for some common views. A reminder from earlier, “the North Elevation is a view of the North face of the building while standing North of it, facing South”.

Layout 2

[14Apr] My intention is to trial a layout using small, labelled images, probably printed as a contact sheet in Photoshop then cut and pasted, at first on paper, then digitally.
• The layout will comprise a table of (these are preliminary guesses) no more than eight rows, each a subject.
• There will be a vertical divide with pre-Courtaulds on the left (B) and Courtaulds and after on the right (C).
• No more than 4 images in the left or right portion for each row.
• Probably date headings (centuries or decades) for each column (D) and for each row, an afterthought, so not indicated on the diagram).
• Descriptive text on the history of the site at the left (A) and if necessary continued on the right too (there will probably be more images on the left side than the right and so the descriptive text may look more balanced on the right.)
• The full, physical display would be with postcard-sized images. For assignment submission it will be smaller (possibly less detail in the text) in PDF format.
• Photographs will be retaken at subsequent visits as required.

[25Apr] Here’s the first pass at organising the images.

[26Apr] Second pass.

Penultimate Pass

[26Apr] This is the likely image selection, the only changes being those arising from the final assembly. B1 was missed out and the reverses of to postcards included.

Final Selection

[27Apr]This is the final selection of images with errata from the previous selection corrected and blanks added to simplify the assembly.


Subjects

Furniture

[13Mar] Contrast furniture from old palace and new.


Hammerbeam Roof

[13Mar] The roof suffered bomb damage during WW2. If that was included, the bomb shelter (which includes a billiards room) could also feature.


Old Palace interior

[13Mar] There is overlap between this and the roof. Don’t forget a wedding picture,


View from the moat bridge

[13Mar]


Palace exterior

[30Mar] Aiming for North, South, East West. Note that the North Elevation is a view of the North face of the building while standing North of it, facing South.

North


South


East


West


LP&E Asg 3 References

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

Brook, R. (1960) The story of Eltham Palace. London: Harrap & Co.