350MC Working with Photography in Context – Proposal

Holly Constantine

“Cultural Memory of Landscapes”


Mode of Presentation Selected:

I have chosen to take part in the Symposium event for this project. Although public speaking makes me incredibly anxious, I feel that it is a very important skill to possess within the creative industries. Choosing to take part in this professional practice event will therefore allow me to develop my presentation skills and confidence whilst also diversifying the professional experiences that can be found on my CV.


Description of Subject to be Investigated:

The overarching theme that I will be exploring for my project is “Cultural Memory of Landscapes”. As this particular theme is very broad, I am currently undergoing the process of conceptualizing more specific theories and arguments in order to create a more specialized presentation.

The idea of this overall topic emerged from my recently approved concept for my Degree Show project. Wanting to reconnect with my deceased Grandfather, the inspiration for my love of both photography and landscapes, I plan on revisiting places within the Lake District that represent significant childhood memories that I shared with him.

After my project idea was approved, I soon became interested in the relationship between memories and landscapes and conducted generalized research through reading Liz Wells’ Photography: A Critical Introduction (Wells 1997) and Land Matters: Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity (Wells 2011). I was then introduced to the photographic works of Paul Seawright (who looked at the cultural memory of landscapes by photographing places where people had died) and Ann Chwatsky (who looked at the cultural memory of landscapes by creating photomontages of childhood landscapes and memories).

Subsequently, I then began thinking about more specific theories surrounding memories and landscapes (listed below). Although I originally thought that these ideas varied, I soon found that they were all loosely connected.

  1. Is there a difference between “History” and “Memory”? How are they related?
  2. Forms of art and photography are often described as both “Sentimental and Romantic” – Landscapes are seen as romantic as they were one of the main inspirations for painters in the Romanticism era within arts history; Positive memories can be seen as being sentimental; Therefore landscapes and memories are related through sentimentalism and romanticism.
  3. Is it easier for us to remember a memory more positively if we associate it with the landscape we acquired the memory in? If so, is this due to the romanticism the landscape portrays?


Sources to be Utilised:

The research I will be using to support this project will include both primary and secondary sources. The primary sources will include first-hand experiences and systematic observation, and the secondary sources will include academic articles/books and theoretical works/case studies of photographers/artists.


Methods to be used in Acquisition of Sources:

The first-hand experience and systematic observation will be acquired through visits to places of personal, memorial significance within the Lake District. By including these primary methods, I will need to make sure that the ideas demonstrated within the project lack bias by using found theories to support my experiences and claims.

Secondary sources such as academic articles/books, and theoretical works/case studies of photographers/artists, will not only be acquired through library-based research but also through one-to-one sessions and topical discussions.

Theoretical works/case studies of photographers/artists should also include works that explore the chosen theme from a variety of mediums (for example, painter, contemporary photography, etc.) to increase the integrity of the project.


Methods of Interpretation/Analysis to be used with the Information and Sources:

As the current theme I am looking at is very broad, my methods of interpretation will include gaining an understanding of general theories surrounding the “Cultural Memory of Landscapes”, which will later allow me to gain more in-depth context when deciding upon specific theories to explore.

I will then use these general resources to help me establish more specific sources and theories that will, in turn, allow me to identify recurring ideologies and arguments to explore for my final symposium project.

Using case studies of different photographers and artists (that may include works by Paul Seawright and Ann Chwatsky) will also help me to refine my theory/argument and increase my projects integrity.


Plan Schedule of Work:

Rest of October – I will finish general research on “Cultural Memory of Landscapes”

Beginning of November – Having gained a general understanding surrounding the overarching theme, I will decide upon a more specific topic for my project before conducting further research into my chosen area

End of November/Beginning of December – I will plan what to include in my symposium presentation depending on the recurring arguments and debates found throughout my research

Mid December – I will write the first draft of my symposium script

December and January – I will continue to adjust my first draft (making more drafts) until the final script for my presentation is complete

Mid to late January – I will create a PowerPoint Presentation to accompany my speech whilst also preparing answers to any potential questions

January and February – I will practice my symposium numerous times until I feel confident with my delivery and prepared for the Symposium event



Anderson, B. (1983) Imagined Communities. London: Verso

Birksted, J. (2000) Landscapes of Memory and Experience [online]. available from <http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=4l__xVlqQ9oC&pg=PA10&lpg=PA10&dq=cultural+memory+of+landscapes&source=bl&ots=tX2OXzYHE9&sig=qWuZOMaaeGmiglPC0Mcx3jw5PKc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=t5kuVPDKNM7naoe0gJAI&ved=0CEwQ6AEwCDgK#v=onepage&q=cultural%20memory%20of%20landscapes&f=false> [10 October 2014]

Clarke, G. (1997) The Photograph. New York: Oxford University Press

Cotton, C. (2004) The Photography as Contemporary Art. 2nd edn. London: Thames & Hudson World of Art

Du Gay, P., Hall, S. (1996) Questions of Cultural Identity. London: Sage

Duncan, K. (2013) ‘Connecting With The Creator: A Landscape Photographer Discovers A Spiritual Dimension To Photography, Which Can Create A Sanctuary Where People Feel At Peace’. World Literature Today [online] , 87 (2), 82-87. available from <http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?sid=c8077bfe-5ccd-451c-8ac4-16951ea1a802%40sessionmgr111&vid=0&hid=109&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=85912404> [10 October 2014]

Farrell, D. (2001) Innocent Landscapes. Manchester: Dewi Lewis Publishing

Giblett, R., Tolonen, Juha. (2012) Photography and Landscape [online]. available from <http://site.ebrary.com/lib/coventry/detail.action?docID=10590962> [11 October 2014]

Gionet, D. (2006) ‘Finding Inspiration in Ordinary Landscape’. PSA Journal: Official Magazine of the Photographic Society of America [online] 72 (6), 22-25. available from <http://psa-newmember.org/firstyearhappenings/landscape_images/Finding%20Inspiration.pdf> [10 October 2014]

Jussim, E., Lindquist-Cock, E. (1985) Landscape as Photograph. London: Yale U.P.

Meusburger, P., Heffernan, M., Wunde, E. (2011) Cultural Memories: The Geographical Point of View [online]. available from <http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=BHZ-qUty4vgC&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=cultural+memory+of+landscapes&source=bl&ots=ad7IXzvRMA&sig=bYt6TGRRPZJ3NxjX8JlmPGEECLU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=t5kuVPDKNM7naoe0gJAI&ved=0CCUQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=cultural%20memory%20of%20landscapes&f=false> [13 October 2014]

Samuel, R. (1994) Theatres of Memory Vol. 1, Past and Present in Contemporary Culture. London: Verso

Schama, S. (1996) Landscape and Memory. London: Fontana

Sturken, M., Cartwright, L. (2009) Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. 2nd edn. New York: Oxford University Press

Taylor, J. (1994) A Dream of England: Landscape, Photography and the Tourist’s Imagination. Manchester: Manchester University Press

Taylor, K. (2008) Landscape And Memory: Cultural Landscapes, Intangible Values And Some Thoughts On Asia [online]. available from <http://openarchive.icomos.org/139/1/77-wrVW-272.pdf> [10 October 2014]

Trusty, L. (2009) ‘Landscape Photography’. PSA Journal: Official Magazine of the Photographic Society of America [online] 75 (10), 32-34. available from

<http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=10199797-223e-4706-b71d-101b8673f32d%40sessionmgr4002&vid=4&hid=4109> [10 October 2014]

Ward, D. (2004) Landscape Within: Insights And Inspirations For Photographers. London: Argentum

Warner Marien, M. (2010) Photography: A Cultural History. 4th edn. London: Laurence King

Wells, L. (1997) Photography: A Critical Introduction. 4th edn. London: Routledge

Wells, L. (2011) Land Matters: Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity [online]. available from <http://site.ebrary.com/lib/coventry/detail.action?docID=10522041> [9 October 2014]

(1980) Landscape, Theory. New York: Lustrum Press