I intend to create a proper photo book, but because of the lack of time, for now I created a prototype book which will show how I expect the actual book to look like and I also created a digital one, because with the prototype book, being printed on normal paper and with the usual printers, the images are too dark, you can no longer see the details. So this is the purpose of the digital book and it also has a wider audience, as it is online and everyone can access it.
I printed 7 copies of the prototype book, tried various setting and on all of them the images came out darker than they actually are.
Initially I wanted to include in the book, the newspaper article, where I found the details about the crimes, but for me it’s all about the layout and I feel that it would’ve been too much, too many things to focus on and it would’ve distract the viewer. I consider that having the description on one page and the image on the page next to it, is enough. Also, I chose to have the description on the left side and the image on the right side on purpose, because this way, when the viewer will open the book, the first thing he will see will be the photograph and then the description.
The book starts with a map of the places that I visited, where the crimes happened and initially I just pined the places on the map and in the book I arranged the images chronologically, but during the feedback session with Kate McMillen, she gave me a really good advice about arranging the images. So I changed the map and the order of the images. On the map I created my journey from when I walk through Coventry to take the images and I rearranged the images in the book by the order I took them, so this way the book represents also my journey.
Through this project I want to remind everyone and to let everyone know about what happened a long time ago, as I feel that these things were shocking for a while then easily forgotten. Some of the cases I am showing within this project had happened almost 200 years ago and my images are being created somehow In memoriam
of those who tragically lost their lives. I want my audience, when they look at my images, to stop and think for a second that in that place that seems so common to them, something tragic happened a long time ago, it has a history and to put more thought into what happened, because these kind of things, usually are in the centre of attention, mainly in the newspapers, for maybe a week top, and then people forget it had happened.
Also, all the information I got about these cases, is from the newspaper articles and from the two books I found Coventry Murders and Warwickshire Murders.
I chose to create the images on film camera and black and white on purpose, because I feel that it adds more depth into the landscapes and that it will create somehow a time-lapse. With each image I attached a description about the cases, the minimum information the viewer need in order to understand what happened.
She takes photos of crime scenes that don’t exist – never happened and creates the crime scenes herself.
The images look like they’ve been taken with a film camera, like they’ve been found in some forgotten police archives.
She added to the photographs signs used by forensic investigators to show that the image is of a crime scene.By adding those signs it takes the viewer’s mind straight to the idea of a crime, hence she doesn’t need a description for the images, as they speak for themselves. My images can’t speak for themselves since the main idea is looking at historical murders, that happened at least 50 years ago, because the places that were once crimes scenes have changed and what I am trying to show the audience is how easily everything is forgotten and how beautiful and peaceful some places might look like now, yet spine-chilling. I can say that I find my project similar to hers, yet different, because by adding the description/details of the murders to the images I am also telling the viewer that the image their looking at is one of a crime scene (but they will notice the photograph first, then the details. Clare Strand is more straight forward with her project, the images and the description within her project are all in one.
Through this project Paul Seawright revisits the places where innocent people were killed for their religion. The description of the images are texts from the newspapers, which I believe that is enough information for the viewer, for what he is documenting.
Another photographer whose work I find extremely interesting and similar to mine. But I feel that he created these images in such way that they have an amount of information themselves, because the landscapes are giving an idea that something might have happened there. Again, I think that the color bring beauty to the images, but I feel that because the lighting had been used appropriately, color brings even more mystery and depth to the images.
David Farrell’s project, Innocent Landscapes is a series of photographs made in The Northern Ireland, at the sites where nine people where killed and secretly buried by the IRA in 1970s’ and revealed in 1999.
I found David Farrell’s work an important influence because by looking at his images I became the viewer of my own idea and it helped me visualize my final images.
Through this series of images he is showing a number of beautiful landscapes that would never make the viewer think about what happened there without the photographer giving this information. They all seem to be peaceful places, but I feel that knowing what happened there makes the audience think differently about it and I personally recreated the scenes in my mind. I feel that I found my idea through his photographs and the exact same thing I want to create and to show how much this places have changed over the times and how hard it is to think about it and what happened there as you see how the place looks now.
What I find quite interesting is that he took the images in color, whereas I considered taking my images in black and white because I feel that this will send the viewer back in time and add more depth to the meaning and message of the images. But in the same time within his project, color seems to work better, is does make the landscapes seem innocent.
Mary Ann White was the unfortunate child whose parents couldn’t and didn’t want to take care of and at the age of 12 months her grandparents took her to live with them. Even after they died, her parents wouldn’t take care of her, so she went to live with her aunt in Manchester. After living with her aunt and by the age of 14 Mary had become a prostitute. Eventually Mary left her aunt’s house and went back to Coventry to live with her uncle, William Higgins, at his house on Spon Street. Her uncle looked after her as she was his own child and also saved quite a reasonable amount of money to leave to Mary after he dies.
Around the end of 1830 Mary met Edward Clarke and began o relationship with him. She was aware of her uncle’s fortune and as she would’ve done anything for Edward, she decided to poison her uncle so this way she will get his will. On 22 March 1831, Mary went into a shop, asking for arsenic saying that it is for rats, but because of the way the law in those days was, the shop assistant refused to sell it to her unless there was a witness. Then she met with a girl, Elizabeth Russell. She told Elizabeth the same thing, that she needs to buy arsenic to get rid of some rats, so Elizabeth went with her to the shop and this time the attempt of buying it was successful. After she managed to buy the arsenic, she met with Edward and they went to her uncle’s house. The next day William’s neighbour, Mrs Green woke up hearing someone at the door. It was Mary, asking her to come over at their house, because her uncle was very ill. She found him lying across Mary’s bed and at that time he appeared to be still alive. Mrs Green went to the kitchen to make some tea for William and a few minutes later she heard Mary crying and saying that her uncle died.
When the doctors performed various tests on her uncle to find the cause of death, they discovered that his stomach walls were red and very vascular. They also found out that there was evidence or arsenic in the liquid in his stomach.
Mary Ann White was found guilty eventually and the judge sentenced her to be executed at Coventry.
(Coventry Murders by Vanessa Morgan, His Wicked Niece, page 17-27)