In which I feel a slight sense of panic and have some realisations about where I live.

I have a confession to make: my first encounter with the ideas presented in Assignment 1 ‘Square Mile’ were when I was reading course materials for the foundation course in photography offered by the Open College of the Arts. I was checking out materials, trying to decide if I should go ahead and sign up, and if so what course I should join.

The brief is to “make a series of 6 to 12 photographs in response to the concept of ‘The Square Mile’.”(1) Very simply, I’d understood this to be the patch you know well when you’re a child – although obviously it’s not quite that simple. So after reading a bit more carefully, I sat in the local tea rooms and noted, with some amusement, my initial response: Panic. Perhaps mixed with a slight sense of excitement along with the knowledge of a decision made in terms of if I should take the course.

The thing that came to me first was where do I do it? Where is home? I’ve never made Blandford my home and I don’t know it despite having lived here for 16 years. What’s more, it made it clear to me that I have no desire to know it. I’m not feeling good about exploring the square mile I currently live in. Should I take images in Ruislip? Northwood?  I suppose that in terms of my childhood Northwood makes most sense. The cul-de-sac I lived in was well known to me. But none of it really feels right, not like home. I realised I don’t know what home feels like. There isn’t anywhere for me, hence my wanderlust; it explains a lot. There are a lot of links in the course material with suggestions to explore them, but I feel I require time to process my own ideas before I take a look at how other people have approached these themes.


(1) From page 57 of freely downloadable course materials for the Open Foundations Photography course which you can find here