Our first challenge was to:
“find an example of a photographic image NOT made by a human, then share and discuss that image with your peers: is a human truly not involved?”
This is not an easy task and like others my photograph was taken with human intervention, through the location of a remote camera in the first place, although the image was captured by the activation of the camera by the animal’s movement and temperature.
The Snow Leopard Conservancy has a computer system called the Snow Leopard Information System that collates and identifies images of the secretive life of the snow leopards. Their data is collected via remotely-triggered camera traps and activated by a warm-bodied animal. This approach was first used to census tigers in India. Researchers are able to identify individual snow leopards through their unique pelage patterns – in order to do this they must capture images of both the left and right flank of the animal. These cameras have also served to identify poachers posing a threat to these magnificent animals.
Our second challenge was to:
“Reconsider your relationship with your preferred apparatus by NOT using it.
You have 24 hours to produce a mini-series of five images relating to your research project, without using apparatus that is familiar to you.
All images must be produced on Wednesday 27th June between 00:00am and 23:59 (local time).”
This involved me in a lot of reflection as to how I could do this. I thought of using my motion-activated camera that has never been out of the box to capture the nocturnal visitors to my garden. I also thought about my iPhone as I rarely use this to take photographs. But, I was inspired by the virtual road trip that Jenny Odell featured in “Travel by Approximation”.
It seemed to have some potential in terms of my Research Project The Road to Elgol. So I researched what I could see via Google Earth and Google Street View. I was very interested in some of the virtual tours of the Cuillin and the aerial views that I could see. It gave me a perspective of the landscape that I have not seen. This may have some potential as I move on with my Research Project and whether some aerial shots might enhance my perspective, particularly given my fascination with the Black Cuillin. For my micro project I have chosen five images all captured from Google Earth and all showing different views from Skye’s highest hill – Bla Bhein. I have chosen images that capture views of the Road and also settlements that have been the subject of my images. My original inspiration of the virtual Road Trip via Street View did not really work on the Road to Elgol as there was no off road access and very few images I had not already captured. My mini-series is below:
This image show the peaks around Bla Bhein, part of the Black Cuillin range where so many of my images have been captured.
This image shows the tiny port of Elgol (the end of my journey).
This image tracks the road from Elgol along the shores of Loch Slapin towards Torrin.
This image shows the head of Loch Slapin and across to the small settlement of Torrin. It also clearly show the marble quarry.
The final image captures the start of the road in Broadford and its track toward Kilbride and Torrin.
The tasks this week were very interesting and it really was a challenge to find techniques or processes that had little or no human intervention. It also introduced me to ways of working that have hitherto passed me by.
As a consequence of this work, I feel compelled to climb the Cuillin Hills, to gain a different perspective of their character, of mine and mans’ vulnerability in the face of these colossuses of nature. I hope to gain different viewpoints, access parts of the Road to Elgol previously unexplored and get to know the Road in a more intimate way. This, I hope in turn will enable me to capture and convey a wider experience of the Road to Elgol.