I made an initial sequence before my images were printed so I had an idea what they looked like. I was happy with the sequence because it kept to the portrait and object combination, and made a good narrative to follow. I wanted to also keep the colours working well, so I had green portraits linked with the green vegetable shot and the brown cafe shot was linked to the brown portrait. The images that linked together were actually from the same farm because I thought it would add to the context and connection of the images. A certain combination that I was proud of was the images of the cow in 3/4 shadow and the image taken from inside the farm shop looking outside. This combination worked particularly well because it looks like the cow is looking outside the window. The head of the cow was lit facing the window, so it placed two images that weren’t related together, and the end result looks really engaging and interesting. With more connotations that the cow is looking out to symbolise the shipment of livestock to slaughter houses to be shipped of to retailers, but instead the cow will stay for sale in the farm shop. Or even that the cow wants to be free, but thats a whole different argument, something that could be drawn from the images, but not my intended purpose. Furthermore, the last image of the computer screen is very symbolic. Its symbolic of the progression of agriculture with the digital age coming to enhance farmers workflow. The light of the computer screen is emerging from the dark times that farmers have been in previously with the great depression, the recession and the supermarkets, developments in the digital field (no pun intended) is the light at the end of the tunnel. Plus, the dirt on the screen sets it in context of the farm, typically a soily place.
My ambition of the photo-book was to show people what farmers do, as simple as that. I feel like they don’t have much opportunity to share their food with the public through advertising. The public also doesn’t really see the face of the person responsible for the meat on their plate, they don’t really think about it. Nor do they appreciate the amount of effort that farmers put in, or the creativity that they have in business. By presenting the food sold in farm shops, the services they offer, their accommodation to children and education, and their production infrastructure, people will hopefully reach the connotations that farms are a creative, reliable, trustworthy, kind, warm, stable, quality, educational and accommodating place. That the public should invest their money into these farm shops and local retailers that encourage their growth, economic growth and the just deserts to the unreliable supermarkets (Horse meat scandal). This binary of supermarkets and farmers has formed the basis of my study, so both the book and the film is called ‘No Horses’. This is because in the book, it contains the produce that can be trusted to not contain anything that it isn’t. The horse meat scandal has made the public loose trust in supermarkets, and farmers can tell you exactly where their stock comes from, so ‘no horses’ is a disguised title for ‘we can tell you where our meat comes from, we don’t need to tell lies to sell our meat, its quality and thats why its a better investment, there is no horse in it, we promise’. The book presents the warm farmers of our generation, and their services and products, I’m giving them a platform to show the public this and thats what farmers that I’ve spoken to want.
I made a brief change to the sequence, I set this image…
…on its own to make a break from the sequences. It quite a thought provoking image of the effect that farms are having on the outside world. They are getting closer to the public (Becketts Farm is on the motorway, so its in a great location)
Meaning that this image…
…of the two cows is also on its own to separate more images later in the book. It also quite thought provoking because people do establish connections with animals, and they see how cute they are, naturally. So then maybe they’d like to see them, and visit a farm, instead of be displayed meat on the shelfs of the supermarket without context. Not many people have the opportunity to see animals like cows, and this book shows how warm and accommodating places farms are because they have all these services, even the opportunity to touch animals.
Making the book
Making the book involved a lot of different skills, many of which I hadn’t exercised for a while. I enjoyed the sequencing process, and found it very creatively engaging. I got the images printed out on matte paper, because it looks more realistic than glossy. I then bought some A3 white card (cut down to size) to place the images on with double sided tape (a more reliable way for me than spray mount, too many bad past experiences). After they were all sequences on the white card, I went to get some creamy yellow mount board to for the strong front and back cover of the book. Something that I realised was that the book would be able to open properly with the thickness of the mount board. So I had to cut of a small spine and stick it back into place with Gaffa/Duct tape so the cover would open without much force. To bind the book I revisited Japanese Stab binding, so I made 4 holes (usually meant to be an odd number, but wanted the cover to be simplistic, so I didn’t want too many distracting lines) and threaded the thread through. The finished book was a spectacle to me, I was so impressed with the result and incredibly happy with the smoothness of the open. Here are some images of the final book in sequence.
I am going to add ‘No Horses.’ on the front, I’ll do that and put it on a later blog post.
I am incredibly happy with my photo-book and hope those who read it get near to the intended message previously described.