This project required me to set an assignment and then to photograph it, with a set of pictures between 5 and 15 that tells a story.
I decided that the subject of my picture essay would be an event run by English Heritage at Whitby Abbey over November’s Whitby Gothic Weekend event. I picked this as I knew that there was a number of different events happening themed around ‘Victorian Gothic’ and that one of these was a display on falconry.
While I did take images of the other events that were on at the Abbey, I focused on the falconry as that gave me a wider range of different scenes and images that some of the more static talks.
1) Advertising the event, as well as a gothic self portrait, both the photographer and the ruins of the abbey can be seen in this reflection
2) A short while before the event, crowds begin to gather around the tent where the birds are being kept.
3) Entering the arena, the Victorian lady shows the crowd one the display owls as she explains the relevance of falconry and bird hunting throughout history.
4) Joining the display, a Victorian game keeper enters the arena with a hawk for the crowd to look at as they gather around the barrier.
5) A willing volunteer acts as bait as he runs around the arena with a fake mouse tied to a rope to entice the hawk to pounce, this has been successful as the child runs from the dropped rope.
6) The gamekeeper shows the dexterity of the hawk as he spins bait around in the air
7) Resting from the excursion, the hawk is introduced back to the crowd as they get a closer upfront view at the end of the display
8)As the birds are all placed back inside the tent, a crowd of viewers gather to look at them and ask questions. To fit in with the Victorian theme, I’ve converted this to black and white to give an air of age
9) Finished for the day, all the hawks and owls are happily back on their perches out of the cold Whitby headland wind.