A Picture of Bradford

Project Timetable

Background

Project Outline

Project Timetable

Participants

Self Image

Links

Funding

Preparation - Basic self image and photography work. Independent travel planning to reach Museum.

Day One - Introduction
Spent most of the day discovering the Museum and considering the role of the photographer. It is an enormous place - quite daunting at first - and we wanted the young people to feel at home so we were prepared to take the time! One very successful method was to allow the students half an hour to look round for themselves. In that time each student chose their favourite place or exhibit. One at a time the students then took the rest of the group to that place and presented their findings - what it was, what they liked about it, etc. It was a great way to go round the Museum and find the most surprising things!

Day Two - The Context
Found a photograph of Constantinople in one of the Museum's temporary exhibitions that had been taken in the last century. It was a stunning panoramic photograph about twelve feet long. But, as one of the students pointed out, you saw the whole of the city but none of the people who lived there. This started a discussion about representing a place visually - buildings or people, long shot or detail, exterior or interior spaces. We then worked in one of the Museum's Education Rooms. They allowed us the use of a computer together with a projector so that we could search the Internet as a group.

Brainstorm
Thoughts about Bradford
 


Looked up Instanbul and immediately found the modern day equivalent of the panoramic photo of Constantinople (even considered buying it mail-order from the States!). Then searched for references to Bradford. Lots of pictures of buildings, stuff about the Bronte sisters and the University observatory. The only interesting photographs were those from the Bradford Festival - but still no detail of what the place was like. So we left the Internet and did a group brainstorm "What's in Bradford" - old and new, city and country, mosques, cathedrals, cultures, riots ... "It's bigger than Keighley"! This led to discussions about culture and racism. What's it like for somebody coming from Pakistan to Bradford for the first time? A couple of the students popped home at lunchtime to ask relations who had recently arrived; "the friendliness and the terraced houses". Looked at the NMPFT's own website, particularly the Auslander/Foreigners section. Discussion of issues raised by Martin Parr's work - particularly of cultural stereotypes. This was led by Jo Booth from the Museum's Education staff. Also focused on Martin Parr's style - close up and colourful!

Day Three - The Challenge
Because of the work we were able to do within the Museum, on the Museum's website and with the input of the Museum's education staff - it was then easy to define the project with the students. The challenge was to create a more interesting visual representation of Bradford on the web. A representation that would give some sort of impression to someone in Kingston or Karachi; without just being a stereotype. The rest of the project was very practical - get out there and take photographs! We decided to start by agreeing a list of streets suggested by people in the group that we thought would highlight some of the variety in Bradford. Then a group of 3 or 4 of the students went to each street and spent 2-3 hours photographing the street. We decided to use compact cameras - Yashica T4s and T5s - easy and quick to use but with very good lenses. The first day we took tripods but soon gave up on the idea - thoughtful snapping was the way!

Day Four - More Photos
Review and assess the photographs taken on Day 3. Learning from each group's successes and identifying what we hadn't covered. Then out again - in different groups to different streets. At the end of the day each student was given a disposable camera to take home for the weekend and take photographs of the interior of their houses, family, friends ... and don't forget "colour and detail".

The photos
Reviewing the photos so far
 


Day Five - And More Photos
and more Review and assess the photographs taken on Day 4. And get out there again!

Day Six - And Make Choices
Review all 1600 photographs taken on the project. Film by film, edit them down until we finish up with 150 which are laid out on a big table. Play and experiment with how they could be presented. Only at this point did we realise that, by choosing sets of four, you could convey enormous amounts of information (and it looked good). But who chooses? On the final day, when all the photographs had been taken, the design of the website suddenly became clear... Time to relax with a visit to the IMAX...

Choosing 4 photos
Making choices
 
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