Proposal for the self-directed project

Travelling fair in Oxfordshire
In an exercise for level 1 ‘Identity and Place’ I took photographs of people operating stalls and rides at St. Giles fair in Oxford.

I propose to produce a set of photographs to show the relationship between a travelling fair and the areas that they use for temporary fairs. Because of the nature of the time that a fair is in operation there is always a sense of ‘outsiderness’ in the way that a fair can radically change the way a place is seen and used but only for a very short time. I have a – once-removed – interest here in that my sister-in-law and brother-in-law live on a village green that gets used as a fairground once or twice each year. When they first moved there it seemed a bit of an inconvenience but they are now used to it and it is part of life. I would use this as a start point to try and explore how a site like a village green is altered – for good and for bad – by a fair setting up for a few days.

The nature of fairs brings the work of Martin Parr to mind, I am interested in a more neutral approach. I do not want to go into this with a predetermined point of view; although people’s home life can be disrupted by a fair suddenly appearing, the people running them also have to live and generally have done this all their lives. Since the fair and the location have co-existed for many years it would seem to largely work. I would go into this with the intention of depicting all concerned as they would like to be seen. In this respect I would follow the model of Walker Evans – in particular in his FSA work. Fairgrounds mostly come alive at night time but I am also interested in the daytime effects; what does a fair look like at 9 in the morning for instance. Both day and night shooting would be required to show a true picture.

I feel the results would likely be best presented in book form. Accompanying text may be an option but for now I would hope the images could speak for themselves without further words. Costs to create the images would be minimal, really just fuel costs to visit the sites. Since I expect this to be in a short-ish distance from my home I would not expect to need any overnight accommodation. Costs to produce the book itself would require further investigation; this is heavily dependent on the final number of copies

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