The work for the FMP now has a number of distinct threads:
Shoots – to produce pictures linked the story ideas.
Stories – research and reflection to identify new stories and improve the content of those that I am already working on.
Platform – developing the interactive images which are key to the project.
My best-developed story is about Cuckmere Haven. This place is a beach and nature reserve on the Sussex coast. It will be an early victim of climate change. Rising seas, worse storms and withdrawal of Environment Agency protection mean that the valley will be completely inundated within the next 30 years. The famous Coastguard Cottages face a fight for survival.
This fits well with my brief of avoiding the exotic (ice bergs, polar bears and Pacific atolls). Cuckmere Haven is a nature reserve and popular with school geography trips, walkers and tourists. It’s a pretty, appealing place. If it were flooded, no one would lose their homes, the wildlife would move on and the grazing flocks of sheep would be moved to higher ground. But it would be a loss. Many Sussex people would mourn no longer being able to visit a place they had known since childhood. The cultural impact would be significant.
Studies by groups like Climate Visuals suggest that stories with a local connection have much greater impact on the general public than stories about distant places. “Talking” about climate change as suggested by Dr Katherine Heyhoe, means having a conversation that other the other party can engage in. Talking to people in the South East of England about climate change in terms of the loss of Cuckmere Haven, really does mean something.
I will be making further visits after I have got in touch with people in the area, as I want to add some personal elements to the story.
I am also developing a story around car culture. Emissions from motor vehicles are a significant contributor to the overall total. Cars, in particular, are a complex issue. Cars are not simply about getting from A to B. They are objects of desire, status symbols, icons of personal freedom. Getting people out of their cars and getting them to travel in other ways, is not replacing one mode of transport with another. It requires rolling back a lot of cultural layers. I want to explore this in greater depth.
A lot of time has also gone into developing the hyperphotograph platform. I have experimented with various ways of interacting with the image; rollover text, modal dialogs and clickable navigation. I am doing the development myself as I have experience of web design. I am looking for a balance which places the picture as the primary element, but makes the interaction with text and other web content as elegant and easy to use as possible.