Exercise 5.2

Select an image by any photographer of your choice and take a photograph in response to it. You can respond in any way you like to the whole image or to just a part of it, but you must make explicit in your notes what it is that you’re responding to. Is it a stylistic device such as John Davies’ high viewpoint, or Chris Steele Perkins’ juxtapositions? Is it the location, or the subject? Is it an idea, such as the decisive moment?
Add the original photograph together with your response to your learning log. Which of the three types of information discussed by Barrett provides the context in this case? Take your time over writing your response because you’ll submit the relevant part of your learning log as part of Assignment Five.


I went with Edward Burtynsky Densified Oil Drums as my homage. When looking at the image you get the sense of how much wastage we as humans actually generate but as the saying goes “someone’s rubbish is someone else’s treasure” this is true when it comes to scrap steel especially when you consider that 50% of steel produced is generated from recycled scrap and 100% of all steel can be recycled in one way or another. The images show a style of mining which in my opinion look and take on the form of urban steel quarries, as we dig and mine the original ore from nature only to place it back in its processed state as a man made quarry. It is easy to take both of these images out of context and place them in a publication showing as an environmental hazard when in fact they are strategically placed scrap yards supplying blast furnaces with raw materials.
Most of Burtynsky’s work revolves around landscapes but for this project he chose the man made wastage and not the raw materials relating to his other projects or the large scale salvage. Being a member of Project Aware a charity that concentrates cleaning up human wastage from the oceans, the idea that the scrap meal is compressed, blocked and stacked to form a sort of scrap quarry to be used over and over again intrigues me. This was also Burtnysky’s thought that this recycling was the source for secondary extraction or what he called “urban mining” Working as an employee within the steel industry I see this scrap being constantly shipped into the steelworks and stacked waiting to be melted down for steel slabs, this gave me the perfect opportunity to capture the photo I took above. The images seem to take on the form of oil paintings with the swirls and twisted coloured metals.
The main problem I had with taking the photo was I couldn’t get to close as the scrap is within an area outside my boundaries set out by the company, so had to take the image at a distance. I used a Nikon D5600 camera and 35mm primary lens, later I cropped and edited the photo in Lightroom to improve the aesthetics.

Illustration: Burtynsky, E (1997) Densified Oil Drums, website https://www.edwardburtynsky.com/projects/photographs/urban-mines [Accessed April 2018]