Saturday 20 May: For most of the pictures taken on this weekend, I stuck with the 50mm lens. I was not in the mood to continually change between my prime lenses and I only brought my telephoto zoom which would not be helpful for most of what I wanted to achieve. So with those parameters in mind, I worked with ‘what I had’ and worked on how to make the compositions work within those parameters.
Saturday was the trip to the partially abandoned village Goussainville-Vieux-Pays (link to a write up about the plane crash which lead to the village abandonment), which was less abandoned than I imagined although that said, there were parts which you could walk into were eerie enough. Health and safety issues reared their head as this was another solo trip… just like La Petite Ceinture on Friday, which I will post on later. This photo-jaunt had more potential dangers given that I could be trampling around unsafe physical structures. So to make myself feel better, I continually shared my location with a friend and asked him to check in with me after a hour just to make sure I had not fallen through the floorboards or something 😊. I also exercised caution and decided not to enter certain places, lest I would have to explain myself to the French emergency services and the Police……
The immediate contrast with this village are the numbers of abandoned properties and those which are still occupied. From my visual and unscientific calculations it was about 60% abandoned -40% occupied. Importantly the village church appears to be fully operational….For me it must be a strange place to live where buidling next door is lying empty, windows concreted up or some just broken, possessions inside or it just being used as a dumping ground. But it provided some interesting photographic opportunities. I also had to contend with the sun coming out and being quite strong despite earlier predictions of rain. But to be fair, the clouds were never far away.
I spent a shorter amount of time here than anticipated. I even made time to make a short time lapse of the planes flying over the chateau in the park, in a sort of homage to those who left the village after the plane crash.
While editing the pictures I decided that black and white worked better to evoke feelings of abandonment than to leave them in colour. I also concluded that I did not really need to take pictures of occupied houses to show transformation through abandonment, that in my view would be too obvious… the viewer needs to make up their own mind what they see… I know what I was seeking it achieve… the jury is out as to whether that was successful. By the way this sort of photography where you seek out abandoned properties/buildings etc is sometimes called urbex – short for urban exploration.
P.S. my favourite ones are of the toy pony and the broken toy car……they just evoked very childlike emotions in me, making think about who they belonged to and why they were left here.
Assignment criteria: 1,2,4 & 5