Category Archives: ASSIGNMENT 5

Assignment 5 – Photography is Simple

What is it about?

The answer to this question leads me again to the context and is also ever changing if I look at the journey I went through with this project. It took me a little while to select the subject matter for this final project. My other two possibilities were the victorian gardens close to my house, or selective images of my son. I settled on shooting Carlton Mansions in Brixton for several reasons. Partly because it is a building that I have been fascinated with purely on aesthetics alone, and I am a believer in ‘Shoot what you love.’ Also because I have been looking for an opportunity to find out more about the building’s history. ┬áThe other main reason was to attempt to improve my skills in photographing architecture.

So in terms of Barratt’s context it is clear that my original shot of the whole building, and the following images picking out the decorative aspects of the facade, these have a very string link to the ‘internal context’. These images are very much about the information within the frame. In this instance it is very much about the aesthetic aspects of the structure itself and how they appealed to me.

As the set progresses the context shifts to include information surrounding the picture ie external. Here we see the purpose, or function, of the image change. The influence of the residents is clearer in their adornments, they have left their ‘stamp’ on the structure. This does become multi layered through research. There are simplistic affectations in terms of stencilling and spray can work, but the ripples of political passion has echoed through the years with the hugely iconic mural ‘Nuclear Dawn’ (Brian Barnes and Dale McCrea – 1981)

This inclusion of original context, information surrounding the picture, is then illuminated more with the plaques on the wall. My favourite of which is image number 8.

The final two images are a little more ambiguous. I like the presence of closed curtains, suggesting there is more to find out and how well that links to the slightly cryptic yet transparent ‘Brixton Bizness Centre’


Photography is Simple

Take a series of 10 photos of any subject of your own choosing. Each photograph must be a unique view of the same subject.

Carlton Mansions – Brixton


1. View from Brixton Village cafe across the street.

This is a building I often find myself looking at. It is opposite Brixton Village where I meet up with friends for coffee frequently. Sitting in the gentrified finery of the now transformed market area, I was quite uninformed of the history related to this building. So my series begins with putting the building in it’s ‘original context’ of my regular viewpoint.

2. Floral affectations on the building’s facade.

I then went on to study aspects of the decorative architecture used in creating this very individual Victorian structure.

3. Stained glass windows and curved arched brick work.

The level of detail that has been used throughout the design lends itself well to abstracting interesting aspects of the structure.

4. Stencilled front door

As I drew closer to the building my eye was drawn to the decorative script used above the front door and how this contrasts with the somewhat raw inscription painted on the glass to name the building.

5. Mural on the side of the building.

The next area that my eye was drawn to were the adornments. The building has been decorated by street and graffiti artists. One whole wall has been used to create a piece of art work that now has iconic status within the area. I was pleased with how well the outstretched hand appeared to be linked to the leaves of a tree in the foreground. I also like how gradually the influence and character of the buildings residents is beginning to colour my view of the house.


6. Street Art of the wall connecting the building and the railway bridge.


7. Plaques

This is where research into the history of the building’s use began to intrigue me. On arriving home I began to investigate it’s past. This leads me to consider again the context of these images. On taking them I am discovering more about the aesthetic, historical and functional aspects of the structure purely within the original context. But following on from my research and selecting my ten chosen images, I find I an applying the external context to allow a logical sequence to take place.

This leads me to the of the plaques on the wall of the building.

8. Plaque

The varied backgrounds and passions of some of the people who lived here are now adding more to the external context of the images and as a viewer we are beginning to create our own stories.

9. Living Space

Although the building is currently empty and has been since 2014, there are still signs of human presence. Curtains at the windows, litter in the bins and cigarette butts on the ground. There are plans to redevelop the area and restore the building according to my research. There are also several articles reporting on the council evicting the final residents of the property.

10. Business Centre

This is my final shot as it gives me a good jump off point to further my research, and it is the one image that suggests a multitude of unknown functions. I have always enjoyed the borrowed initials from a famous corporation that the initiator of this design used. I have no idea what the Brixton Bizness Cafe was, but from the signage next to it I presume it was used for internet use for and a drop in centre. Perhaps more research will illuminate this.