London Ideas + Research


The London Coffee Festival

At the beginning of March I decided to start researching into potential subject matter for my 24hour shoot in London. My initial ideas were to look into food festivals and unique food and drink businesses in central London such as Sketch. I found out that The London coffee Festival is taking place on the day of the shoot in the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. Which I may use as a back up plan if I don't like the results of the recce that I will do earlier that week for my new idea that I have been researching.

I have decided that instead of focusing on businesses like I did for the Plymouth shoot that I want to research and tell a story for a more documentary style project. After lots of reading into the history of East London where we will be based for the talks and exhibition that week, I was reminded that Joseph Merrick's story mostly took place there. After watching a documentary about his story it is one I think would be really powerful to tell if executed well with strong captioning and well thought out images. As Merrick's story is one that illustrates the effects of stigma; a subject that is still relevant today.

Like in my SDA project this subject matter is not one I can directly photograph. Therefore I will be making use of what I have learnt through my contextual research of photographers such as Joel Sternfeld and Mark Power, to inform the kinds of photographs I will take for this assignment. However this time it is unlikely that I will get shots devoid of people in London and I will be telling one story with my five photographs rather than individual ones.

One thing that I learnt early on in my research is that Joseph Merrick's skeleton is still stored in The Royal London Hospital's Medical School. However it isn't open to the public so I decided to email the medical school's media team to see if I could get access to photograph the skeleton on the day of the shoot.

My email to the media team 
Their response
Unfortunately I was declined access to photograph the skeleton however in thinking more about how I want my photographs to look overall the skeleton doesn't necessarily fit what I want anyway. It just happens to be evidence of Merrick and his condition that would have been a really powerful thing to record. There is a replica in the Royal London Hospital Museum, however I have been thinking that if I want my images to focus more on the experience of living with stigma, that they should show what Merrick saw of the world through his eyes. With captions that describe how his perspective was different because of the way he was treated.

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