• Ross Henderson

MA Story

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

For the last 2 years I have been working towards an MA in Communication and Design at Gray's School of Art. I can only say that this course was a challenge for me, however, I did come out the other side. Also, I passed. But that is only part of the story.


My project for the MA concentrated on abandoned industrial places. I chose subject such as quarries, watermills and old railway lines. Some subjects I took were of recycled buildings, for example an old watermill which had been renovated in to a house. However, I found that they lacked character in their structure as they were well looked after. There was always an interesting story about how they came be renovated, but nature was not reclaiming the building as it was with abandoned buildings.


Towards the end of the project, my focus appeared to concentrate on disused quarries and watermills,





The lower image is of Kemnay Quarry. It was created using 3 images, stitched together as a panorama. This was a technique that I had not used before, so it was a learning process.


One location I had thought about was Tillyfourie Quarry. I had heard about it a number of times, but had never been to it before. It took me two visits to find it. The first occasion I managed to get slightly lost and didn't find it. However, the second visit, I had figured out a way of getting to it, and successfully found it.


It was a really interesting place to visit. There was an old chimney and also an old control cabin. However, it cannot be full appreciated just by looking at photos of the place. You have to visit the location to gain a full appreciation.


What struck me most was the colour of the water in the quarry itself. It was an iridescent green colour.


Inspite of using a 28mm lens, I was only able to capture a small amount of the quarry itself in on image. So I chose to use panoramic technique used previously. Once I had settled on the best location to take the images, I found myself standing on top of a ladder, which went down into the quarry. It was slightly precarious.



What worried me when I was standing there was that if I dropped the camera. It could end up in the water, and it would be irrecoverable. Thankfully, this didn't happen. I took 12 images of the quarry from this position. The result is below:-



The resulting image took a lot of processing, Firstly each image had to have the debris removed from the water. There were also other things which had to be removed, such as a mobile phone mast. After this, the image had to have any distortion removed from using a wide angle lens. It was only then that the images could be combined.


To conclude the course, I had the opportunity to display some of the work which I had created during my project. I was only permitted 3 images, which I found quite limiting. I felt that the photograph above of Tillyfourie Quarry was the pivotal image of the whole project. However, to just print this image on paper would not have done it justice. I decided to have it printed on acrylic in order to give the image depth and also make the iridescence of the water stand out and come alive.


The result is below:-




A photograph of the actual piece does not do it much justice. In order to full appreciate it, the image must be seen in the flesh.


The final conclusion of the journey was graduation day.




Graduation was conducted by Dame Evelyn Glennie.


However, for such a long period of time, ie 2 years, for everything to be surmised into 15 seconds on stage felt a bit of a let down.


In the end, I managed to make the headlines, with my graduation story.


https://www.rgu.ac.uk/news/graduation-stories/graduation-stories-winter-2021/ross-henderson-ma-communication-design

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