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I have decided to look at American Culture In The UK.

I am looking at

  • Martin Parr
  • Robert Frank
  • Jarret Schecter

Robert Frank created a book called ‘The Americans’ the photos he took were taken when he travelled across the US. The photos and book documented a time before a huge social change in America. I have used the book for reference, looking at what the US was like. So for example there is a photo taken in New York of a tall building with a magazine stand in front of it, when thinking about this project this is an image I always had in my head. I wanted to try and recreate the image but I couldn’t find something similar. As the photos were taken in the US there is no reminder that the image was taken in the UK, which is what I want to do.

The book is quite small approximately 21.5 x 19 cm, I want to make a huge book with glossy paper because in my opinion, and other’s who I have spoken to, America is loud and in-your-face and I wanted this to be reflected in my book. The book is laid out the same way all the photos are on the right hand page with the place it was taken on the left. The text is in the same place, in the bottom left of the page and the picture is in the centre. I feel this becomes to repetitive and so I want to change it, especially if I want an image to be a stand alone image. Also I don’t want any text about my photos as I don’t think it is necessary I don’t feel there is anything to say about my photos as the viewer knows they are taken in the UK.

Jarret Schecter also travelled around the US but only took photographs from a train. For three years Schecter travelled from one place to the next, sometimes on the journey he would have his camera. I like the different view point one gets because he is an American living in America so he wasn’t or isn’t like Robert Frank where he was an outsider going into the US. Similarly I live in the UK and have done all my life so I feel I am an insider looking at what isn’t really part of my culture but is creeping into it.

Schecter’s book is the opposite of Frank’s as it is huge, this could be for many reasons, for instance it is to give the impression looking out of a huge window (like you do on a train) or this idea that America is huge and so the book needs to reflect it. However the pages are not that glossy and I want my pages really glossy to stand out to make it feel expensive. Schecter’s layout changes but most of the time there are many images on the same page of similar things to give this idea of repetition I want the photos to be quite prominent to give this idea that America is taking over or it is everywhere.

Martin Parr is a British documentary photographer, he has photographed places around Britain, Europe and America. One recent series is called Think of Finland where he travelled around Finland and tried to captured what he believes the nature of the country is. He was quoted in saying “The Finns are a delightfully quirky people, so I wanted to show this and also the tension between tradition and modernity.” In the same way I feel there is a lot of fast and unhealthy food in America, everything is large and oversized I have tried to capture this in my work.

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Here are contact sheets of the images I took when I went to London on 17.02.13

With special thanks to the American Food Store (click to go to their website) which is feature in the first 22 photos.

I narrowed down the images from these for the possible final images:

I then went to Tesco, in South Wigston, Leicestershire I decided to go there because The USA have huge shops such as Walmart where you can buy almost anything, for example I found out in my assignment 2 research Walmart sell shotgun cartridges.

ContactSheet-003 ContactSheet-004

On a course trip to London on 01.03.13 this is a contact sheet of the photos I took:

ContactSheet-001 ContactSheet-002 ContactSheet-003 ContactSheet-004 ContactSheet-005 ContactSheet-006 ContactSheet-007 ContactSheet-008 ContactSheet-009 ContactSheet-010

From these two contact sheets I have chosen my favourites:

I have decided to refer to the section of the book we read called: When is a photograph worth a thousand words? By Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie. The idea of the book is that she knows what is inside of her culture and so can understand a photograph more. This is something I believe I can relate to, as I was born in the UK and so I feel I have a pretty good understanding on what is culturally British and what is American culture.

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