Assignment 1 calls for two sets of photographs to tell different versions of the same story. The aim of the assignment is to explore the convincing nature of documentary by presenting two sets of pictures that are equally convincing depictions of the truth.
My research and development process is described in detail in a previous post (Assignment 1 Research and Development).
We are also asked to provide a 300 word introduction outlining our objectives and processes. I will use this introduction to position and contextualise the final “Invisible People” series.
Introduction to Invisible People
There are 2,500 people sleeping rough in England, some find beds in shelters, some have developed encampments, many sleep in the open. They are recognised, discussed and publicised as one of the most vulnerable groups in society, their life-expectancy is slightly better than half the national average, they are often exceptional in other ways, drug addicts, alcoholics, suffering from clinical depression or other forms of mental illness. They are exposed , not only to the harsh British climate, but to the risk of illness, abuse, hate crime, sexual exploitation and serious violence. They are nine times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the population.
Invisible people arrive quietly and disappear without interrupting our complacency. Their eventual demise is hardly noticed so despite the statistical likelihood of many deaths every year in every part of the country there are few press reports of death by natural causes. They are as invisible as a person can be in our modern society.
We, the passers-by, a phrase that describes both the physical act of passing and a certain detachment, look through them, perhaps we are momentarily embarrassed into dropping a few coins.
I visited eleven places where rough sleepers had died prematurely in Hove, Guildford and Winchester. Each place is an affluent town, comfortably located in “middle England”. I looked for some abnormality in the landscape, some common trace that would explain why eleven people died there, some unusual feature that differentiated this place from the rest of the town, some record of their passing.
Of course, there were no abnormalities, just ordinary, bland, uninteresting places where something extraordinary occurred. These people left no traces, no mark on the landscape. Because most died violently their demise was marked by one or a few brief reports. There are no reports of those that died the same night for less news worthy reasons.
There are 610,00 empty houses in England, of which 200,000 have been empty for more that six months . (1) There are 2,500 rough sleepers.
Invisible People recognises that different truths are already inherent in each scene so the series is comprised of a single photograph for each location, .
Each image is unlocked by a simple caption. One version is appropriated from a public source, the other describes the death of a rough sleeper. Both are true, but neither can come close to being the whole truth.
Invisible People explores ordinary landscapes that have been the setting for extraordinary events and how our emotional response changes in response to the context provided by simple captions.
Eleven Invisible People
Two Photographs, Different Narrative
Milford House Winchester
Sited within extensive landscaped gardens and close to the centre of Winchester, Milford House, was built in the early 1990s
Grzegorz Kurowski died from a combination of alcohol and ecstasy whilst in his friend’s flat at Milford House hostel
River Wey Guildford
MP’s are concerned at River Wey flood alert timing in Guildford
Dominic Kelly, who could not swim, was unable to cope with the strong currents of the river, he later died in hospital
There is level access to both platforms at the station. Interchange between platforms is via a new fully accessible over-bridge.
Stuart Horsman was assaulted in the Stockbridge Road underpass and died in hospital some days later of internal bleeding
St Paul’s Hill Winchester
What sort of street is this?
Jan Sobolewski, a heroin addict, killed himself fearing he could be evicted from his home in St Paul’s Hill
This one bedroom apartment is superbly located in the heart of Winchester representing an excellent investment opportunity.
The Sussex Street Hostel has been in sharp focus since the murder there of resident Valerie Tallett
Unusual for public toilets these are a listed building. The building was originally the Guildford Fire Station.
A drug overdose killed homeless man, Andrew Brown, in a toilet cubicle in Guildford town centre.
Red brick with gauged-brick dressings and plain tiled roofs obscured by stone-coped parapets.
Reece Hayor killed himself while staying at Vaughan House, a homeless hostel in Chertsey, Street Guildford.
The Telephone Exchange
Exciting news for customers who are connected to the Guildford exchange, most customers can now upgrade to fibre internet.
Sally Stevens’ body was discovered lying by a warm air duct behind the Telephone Exchange. It had been a bitterly cold night.
Pannell’s Court is located just off the upper High Street in the heart of Guildford Town Centre.
Winchester Railway Cutting
Bear in mind that engineering works can occur. Double-check your journey with South West Trains before you travel.
Ben Blyth was found trackside about a quarter of a mile north of the station. Ben was one of Winchester’s rough sleepers.
Hove Pitch and Putt
This beach hut is in a great location, on a quieter part of Hove Esplanade by the pitch and putt.
Lea Williams was found dead on Hove Seafront. He had been battered to death in the archway where he had been living for a year.
(1) Empty Homes (accessed 18/12/15) – http://www.emptyhomes.com
Internet Sources of Quotations and News Reports
Atlantic Housing Ltd “Sited within extensive landscaped gardens and close to the centre of Winchester, Milford House, was built in the early 1990s.” – (accessed 2/2/15 at Atlantic Housing Ltd) – http://atlantichousingltd.photolinkstaging.co.uk/xq/asp/WebsiteRefNo.4/PageRefNo.627/qx/generic_noright.asp
Southern Daily Echo (accessed 21/1/15) Accidental Death at Hostel http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/4500155.Accidental_death_at_hostel/
River Wey Guildford
Get Surrey “MP’s Concern at River Wey flood alert timing in Guildford” – (accessed 2/1/15 at Get Surrey) – http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/local-news/mps-concern-river-wey-flood-6462579
Get Surrey – (accessed 21/1/15) Man Sentanced over Tragic River Wey Death – http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/local-news/man-sentenced-over-tragic-river-4816327
National Rail ” There is level access to both platforms at the station. Interchange between platforms is via a new fully accessible over bridge.” – (accessed 2/2/15 at National Rail) – http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/win/details.html
BBC – (accessed 21/1/15) Winchester Railway Murder Police Renew Appeal – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-14566202
St Paul’s Hill Winchester
192.com “What sort of street is this?” – (accessed 2/2/15 at 192.com) – http://www.192.com/places/so/so22-5/so22-5ab/
Southern Daily Echo – (accessed 21/1/15) Heroin Addict Killed Himself Over Homeless Fears – http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/district/winchester/11639641.Heroin_addict_killed_himself_over_homeless_fears/
Hampshire Chronicle – “This one bedroom apartment is superbly located in the heart of Winchester representing an excellent investment opportunity.” – (accessed 2/2/15 at Hampshire Chronicle) – http://www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk/homes/homes_for_sale/in/Winchester,%20Hampshire/from/30000/to/10000000/high-to-low/All/with/0/bedrooms/gallery/5754200/
Southern Daily Echo – (accessed 21/1/15) Murder Hostel Makeover http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/archive/2002/09/06/5604970.Murder_hostel_makeover/
Hureka – “On the opposite corner are public toilets, which, unusual for public toilets are a listed building. The toilets have recently (2002) been refurbished. The building was originally the Guildford Fire Station (1872).” – (accesssed 3/2/15 at eureka.clara.net) – http://www.heureka.clara.net/surrey-hants/gu-ford.htm
Get Surrey – (accessed 21/1/15) Drug Overdose Killed Homeless Man in Public Toilet – http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/local-news/drug-overdose-killed-homeless-man-4819158
British Listed Buildings “Red brick with gauged-brick dressings and
plain tiled roofs obscured by stone-coped parapets.” – (accessed 4/2/15 at British Listed Buildings) – http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-288897-vaughan-house-surrey
Get Surrey – (accessed 18/1/15) Mother’s Tribute at Reece Taylor Inquest – http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/mothers-tribute-reece-taylor-inquest-8276152
The Telephone Exchange
Telephone-Exchange ” Exciting news for customers who are connected to the Guildford exchange, as most customers on this exchange can now upgrade from ADSL to fibre internet.” – (accessed 4/2/15 at telephone-exchange) – http://www.telephone-exchange.co.uk/Guildford-THGI.html
Get Surrey – (accessed 18/1/15) How Sally, 31, Ended up Homeless and Dead on a Street in Guildford – http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/local-news/how-sally-31-ended-up-4859843
Completely Office “Pannell’s Court is located just off the upper High Street close to the junction of North Street and Chertsey Street, in the heart of Guildford Town Centre.” (accessed 4/2/15 at Completely Office) – http://www.completelyoffice.co.uk/offices-to-let/scheme/1-Pannells-Court-Guildford.html
Get Surrey – (accessed 18/1/15) Tributes to Man Found Dead Near Town Centre – http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/local-news/tributes-man-found-dead-near-4809515
Wiki Travel “Bear in mind that engineering works can occur, particularly at weekends. Double-check your journey with South West Trains before you travel” – (accessed 4/2/15 at wikitravel) – http://wikitravel.org/en/Winchester_%28England%29
Hampshire Chronicle – (accessed 21/1/15) Homeless Man Dies Near Station – http://www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk/news/winchester/8342381.Homeless_man_dies_near_station/
Hove Pitch and Putt
Beach Huts “This beach hut is in a great location, on a quieter part of Hove Esplanade by the pitch and putt, opposite the steps down to the beach.” – (accessed 4/2/15 at beach-huts) – http://www.beach-huts.com/beach-huts-for-sale-location-hove-lagoonpitch-n-put.php
Brighton and Hove News – (accessed 18/1/15) Three Jailed After Murder of Rough Sleeper on Hove Seafront – http://thelatest.co.uk/brighton/2013/11/02/three-convicted-after-murder-of-rough-sleeper-on-hove-seafront/