Week 1: Looking Back

Anna-Maria Pfab
“This forum activity is an opportunity to discuss project work produced during the break.

In the space below, please use the following structure to tell us where you are with your projects:

Introduce the topic of your project
Introduce the area of concern or your angle
Summarise work made in previous modules
Describe the intentions you had for the break
Share work produced during the break: three – five images is enough
Make sure to look at the work of your peers and comment, help, brainstorm together.”

week 1- My project and work achieved in the break

My project is Beauty and the Beach…

The three dots signify that it is not all that the words in the title may convey as I am photographing debris, including plastics, on beaches and waterside locations. Having monitored in situ and collected some rubbish from various locations in Devon, Cornwall, London and now the Netherlands I am starting to think about how to process, present and display in ways that capture attention.

The visit to Amsterdam and Unseen gave me some ideas as did my subsequent visit to the Dutch seaside where I found a huge set of billboards on a public walkway at the beach all showing data and images of the damage to animals and the environment that debris can cause. Several images promoted taking rubbish off the beach whether just visiting or attending a beach clean event. One of my ideas in my proposal was to do something similar at the entrance to beaches and in city centres in Devon and Cornwall so finding such a display has been helpful.


I have started to experiment with processing but as yet I only seem to make the images interesting and to invite discussion about the back story but with no impactful message to avoid littering in the first place.


In July I attended the 5 day Adobe Photoshop course at Falmouth. I have not spent as much time practicing what I learned over the break as I had hoped. However, I have managed to visit more beaches and waterside locations both taking visitors and on my own. I have also attended two formal Marine Conservation Society/National Trust beach cleans recording and collecting debris. On each visit I have found debris or wildlife or views that I had not “seen” before. I am keeping an open mind as to the final direction and focus of the project as it is offering up so many possibilities.

Landscape: In Amsterdam I presented a landscape image taken on one of the beach cleans, this having been taken because I liked and wondered about the structure in the foreground. I am planning to gain experience as an “apprentice” next week and in December with a local landscape photographer.

Products: I attended a one day workshop on Product Photography on 25th August at Plymouth College of Art and Design with the intention of improving my ability to present my beach finds. Interestingly I was the only “photographer”, others were producers of things wanting to take better images, mainly on phones, for their websites. Hopefully the contacts I made will lead to some collaborative work.

Portraits: I am pleased to report having taken an image of a person (with their permission) facing me. My previous images of people have tended to be at a distance or with people with their backs to me.


Wildlife: I am still drawn to my pre course love of nature and wildlife photography albeit mainly associated with watery locations now. This image was taken on the same Dutch beach just after dog walker passed me. It is a seagull dive bombing a seal for the fish s/he had caught.



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