Exercise 5.2: ‘Viewpoint’ Page 108

Exercise 5.2: ‘Viewpoint’ Page 108


The French writer Georges Perec wrote a book called An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris (1975) in which he wrote down everything he could see from a certain viewpoint. You may like to read it.

Choose a viewpoint, perhaps looking out of your window or from a café in the central square, and write down everything you can see. No matter how boring it seems or how detailed, just write it down. Spend at least an hour on this exercise.

Here are some areas to consider:

• Can you transform this into a photography version?

• Would you stay in the same place or get in close to the things you listed?

• Would you choose to use your camera phone in order to be discreet or would you get your tripod out?

• Would it be better in black and white or colour?

• Would you include your list with the final images?

You may choose to turn this into a photography project if it interests you.


I decided to sit on the wall outside my home to observe what is going on.

Observing is not neutral (something I learned doing my doctorate which observed surgery waiting room behaviour) and it is essential to have a preparatory framework. This is needed because you will observe more rather than less. May framework was that I would observe and describe movements, my emotions, sounds and people and things.

What is interesting about my notes is that as it was not very busy with cars or people (I live at the bottom of a cul-de-sac) but there are plenty of sounds and feelings from inside and outside. I also felt the heat of the sun and the stroking of the wind which moved the trees and rose bushes.

When I started to take photographs to represent my observations they focussed on hardscaping and natural items and bushes moved by the wind.

Here are my draft images

One view-2One view-1

This is my final series which is called ‘Cul-de-sac’

Ext vantage points-4Ext vantage points-2Ext vantage points-5Ext vantage points-7Ext vantage points-6Ext vantage points-1Ext vantage points-3Ext vantage points-8

I like photographing people and chose a quieter place intentionally. This was therapeutic as I am busy putting together A5 today. I already completed a very similar exercise earlier in this module using a mobile phone in a cafe.