Photo Essay & Rationale- Maureen Elvy
Title: The Forgotten
Sub Theme: Design, Pattern and Shape
The theme for my photo essay is ‘manholes’ with the sub theme of 'design, pattern and shape’. The manhole is used as the entry to many underground systems for example sewerage, gas and water, a necessity of our everyday life. Located throughout our city and suburban streets we walk past them every day and perhaps rarely stop to look at them. This mundane, non-spectacular notion of the ‘manhole’ is a representation of the shifting notions of the ‘everyday aesthetic’ (Murray 2008: 147) displayed in contemporary amateur photography and which is now commonly found on photo sharing sites such as Flikr.
Digital camera technology has enabled photography to be a relatively inexpensive, immediate and transitory practice (Murray 2008). No longer are we bound to the 24 reel photo unable to see our image until it is printed. We can now take 100’s of photos on devices that can be viewed immediately and either kept or reshot instantly. This transition has helped shape our photographic subjects. The ability to snap and re-snap has created a shift in the everyday image being “less about the special and rarefied moments” and more of a collection of the "mundane" (Murray 2008:147).
‘The Forgotten’ manhole photo essay exemplifies Murrays (2008:155) concept of fascination with ‘compilation and comparison’. Various images capture the different patterns, shapes, colours and beauty of the manholes. Each photo was taken on an iPhone, transferred into iPhoto and then iMovie with a little editing to maximise the visual aesthetic. The Ken Burns effect was used to add movement, dimension and emphasis. Music ‘Sleeping Soul’ by Skyleo (2012) was used to emphasise the somewhat overlooked beauty, diversity and mystery of manholes. It also is used to highlight their underlying importance within society. The viewer is taken on a not so ordinary journey of the ordinarily overlooked and disregarded, a concept explored in photography today.
Murray, S. (2008), 'Digital images, photo-sharing, and our shifting notions of everyday aesthetics', Journal of Visual Culture August 2008, vol. 1, no. 2:147-163.
‘Sleeping Soul’ by Skyleo (2012)