Sunday, 5 July 2020


'54(.)9' is my most recent film commission. It explores the 54.9 square miles of Preston in 549 photographs, celebrating it's architecture. It was one of 24 micro commissions commissioned by Something's Brewing, for it's 'Prestoning' online exhibition. This will feed in to the ongoing 12 year cultural strategy for Preston.

The brief was to create a response to the word 'Prestoning'. It was a term invented during a previous strategy meeting to reflect the unique nature of the city of Preston. After juggling a couple of ideas which reflected both this word and my sensibilities as an artist, I came up with the above idea which uses both moving image and photography: media which I create the majority of my work in. The architecture within Preston is distinct and crosses a variety of styles: from the neoclassical to brutalist and everything in between and beyond. I very much admire the architecture in the city and felt I wanted to create a project which showcases and celebrates it.

I took the term 'Prestoning' in a number of ways whilst conceptualising the project. Firstly, in terms of the content: if you haven't heard about Preston Bus Station by now, then have you even heard about anything?! Jokes aside, with buildings such as the Bus Station and Kennington Primary School 'Bubble' classroom, Preston is home to some architectural (and grade II listed) delights.

Kennington Primary School 'Bubble'

Preston Bus Station

Alongside content, my approach to the project reflected 'Prestoning', too: I was ambitions, creative, took risks and did something a little different. These are all attributes which makes the way that Preston does things, special. That's what also makes Preston a great place to live in. I should know: I've been here for ten years now- some 'stop gap' eh?!

As someone who takes a lot of photographs, I must admit I thought the project would be a lot easier. I didn't think 549 photographs sounded much when I was writing the commission proposal and thought I'd be able to knock them all out in a couple of days! Oh, how wrong I was. I think it's because I'm so use to photographing sports events (or events in general) where you can take anything between 200-900 images in one sitting (usually at the lower end of the scale, mind). Whereas for this, I had to locate and take each shot specifically, in a style which would be congruent with the rest of the project. It also rained a lot towards the end of the project, limiting the days I actually could take photographs on.

Another thing which limited my photograph taking time window, was that I needed to do some trips with my boyfriend and therefore needed to not only work around his work schedule, but also wait for a day where the lighting was good enough i.e. not overcast/ gloomy! This was because when out on my own taking photographs, I often receive comments off men. When my boyfriend is there, these comments do not happen and I feel free and able to take photographs where I please. Yes, I ignore the comments or try and laugh them off to avoid conflict/ further discussion, but it's genuinely frustrating that I can't focus on the project fully as I have to also 'be on my guard' when out and about. That's all I'll say on this matter for now as it probably deserves a post of it's own, but if you are a man who makes comments at women who you don't know, then please STOP. It's not enjoyable. Go home.

Besides the above, the project was a fun (albeit ambitious) one to take on. As a hashtag 'architecture lover' it was great to really explore and take a detailed look at the buildings, textures, patterns and colours in the place I live. I knew I had always liked the architecture here hence starting the project, but didn't expect to find so many beautiful and unique buildings if I just looked up.

I have put together a Flickr album of seventy or so images which I especially liked. You can check that out by clicking here.

You can watch '54(.)9' below:

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