Harlow Research & Draft Proposal

Harlow is a former new town based in the west of Essex and has been like this for 70 years now. Harlow is situated on the border of Hertfordshire and occupies a large area of land on the south bank of sort valley. Along with the main part of Harlow there is old Harlow which is a village sized suburb town which was founded by the medieval age and most of the buildings and monuments featured in this town are the remains from the victorian and medieval age. Also in Harlow in a field called Harlow-bury there is some small remains of a chapel which is known as a ancient monument.

Harlow New town was build just after the second world war to stop overcrowding in the outskirts of Essex and the most of East London close to Essex. This means there was a lot of people coming into Harlow and the town soon became very busy and highly populated. Not many people now refer to it as Harlow New Town, it has become such a thing of the past that it is just know as Harlow. The most popular part of the town was Mark Hall and by 1957 there were over 17,000 people living there and this is when people came to the realisation that it needed to become a new and town and big developments started to happen. There are a lot of shops in the town and ever since this first came about they have always been going through big redevelopments to keep up with the times and keep it as modern as possible. Ever since Harlow became a new town it has seen lots of changes and it is constantly being expanded and almost every month a new shop or business is opened and the business aspect of Harlow is expanded. Meaning Harlow is constantly expanding its town centre and business to cater for the large growing population. As well as shops they are also expanding the amount of houses that they have in the town and as lots of people are constantly moving in and out of Harlow there is always constant need for a new house, apartment or flats for people to move into.

In the town of Harlow there are lots of parks, fields and greens and this was one of the big features that was included int he building of Harlow New Town as the arrival of lots of people would mean the arrival of lots of families and children meaning they would need to cater for everyones needs to be active and also to be able to entertain their children also. Nearly half of Harlow is made up of public parks and fields. One of the main parks of Harlow is Harlow Town Park based in the heart of the town centre and its accompanying industrial estates and housing estates. It sits in the centre measuring just over 71 acres and is actually one of the biggest urban parks in the whole of England. As well as the large park Harlow also has one of the biggest cycle track networks in the country and it connects to all different parts of the town, pretty much anywhere you go in Harlow there will be a large amount of cycle track and as well as being able to connect you to all different parts of the town it can also connect you to the surrounding areas of Harlow including Hoddeson, Hertfordshire, Bishops Stortford and Epping which are all within 10-15 minutes from Harlow.

From looking online at different images of Harlow from different decades I have found a lot of different images ranging the 50’s all the way up to the present day. When you compare the photos you can see how much Harlow has really changed over the years and whats been added to the town, whats been modernised and also whats been taken away or removed. There’s pictures of Harlow throughout the years posted on lots of different websites online and they are all really different and show the different perspectives of Harlow from lots of different people. Many people got into photography around the 50’s and 60’s and this is how these images came about because if many people didn’t have a camera or use a camera then there would be no evidence to see what Harlow used to look like compared to what it is now. Photography had become quite a popular hobby by the 50′ and the 60’s and some of the most popular cameras that people used were A Kodak Pony, Nikon S, Canon III and also an Olympus Pen. Photography still wasn’t considered a big thing even though it was the hobby of a lot of people so people wouldn’t take it as professionally as they do now. People would mainly take pictures of their town, family and if they were at events or on holiday. During this point in time cameras were mainly used for documentation and capturing memories.

As well as black and white photography there was also colour photography, which even though had been around since just before the second world war was still quite new thing to most people as it was mainly used for professional use and black and white photography was mainly used for amateur photographers and also for beginners. Photography was becoming more and more popular for casual pictures and a lot more people were using cameras and slowly a lot more people were using colour photography by the end of the 60’s.

There are lots of iconic places in Harlow and places that are constantly being changed and look completely different to what they did when Harlow New Town was first created. I have included a few below and compared them to what they are like now.

Left Image Water Gardens 1965-Right Image Water Gardens 2014

These two images are images are of the water gardens which are based in the front of the town centre. The image on the left was taken in 1965 and I found this by entering Harlow New Town into pintrest and I found this old image of the  water gardens. As you can see in this image it still has the long ponds and the fountains which are still there now. Theres a lot of greenery and the garden element is really strong. Now a days the water gardens is known as somewhere where you would park your car before shopping or where you would eat in a restaurant but looking at the image from the 60’s it looks as if though it was more of a place where you would walk a long the ponds and take in the surroundings. Its looks as if though there are no shops there and the area is completely open and free for any one to walk around. In the image on the right it is completely different even though the ponds and fountains are still there, there is now restaurants and shops and this is more what it is known for compared to the first image.

Left Image Harvey Centre 1979-Right Image Harvey Centre 2015

These two image are images of the Harvey centre which are based in the centre of Harlow Town and is a big shopping centre full of different shops, cafe’s and restaurants and a recently added cinema. The image on the left was taken in 1979 and as you can see from the image the shopping centre is non existent and hadn’t even been built yet. There are buildings around the outside of the construction site which are the shops on the broad walk which have actually been around since the late 1950’s. The Harvey centre was actually built and completed in 1980 so it wasn’t long after this photo was taken that the Harvey Centre was finished. The harvey centre is one of the only indoor shopping centres in Harlow and is a main place that people will go to shop in the town centre. In the right image is a more recent picture of the Harvey centre, throughout the years that the harvey centre has been in Harlow it has been refurbished and changed many times, but most recently they have a completely open plan area in the middle where they have a cafe and they also have lots of different independent stall holder, upstairs they have also recently added a cinema and there are always lots of new shops opening. There is a massive difference between the two photos as int eh first photo the centre isn’t even built and in the second photo it is open full of people and newly refurbished.

A lot of things have changed in Harlow since the 1950’s and also since Harlow New Town was introduced. There are now lots of new shops, restaurants, buildings and landmarks and all of this makes the town that has been a popular town for 70 years now. There is a lot  of different things that give Harlow its perosnality.

From my research I have a lot of different initial ideas about what I could do for my triptychs project relating to Harlow’s 70th Anniversary of becoming a New Town. I have listed my ides below and to see what idea will really work for me I will experiment these ideas. After I have experimented these ideas I will see which one I think will give me the best results and will really fit the brief of the project. I will also evaluate them to see if there is anything that I need to change or do differently when it comes to my final shoot so I can get the best results possible.

Idea 1

My first idea for this project will be to have one triptych as lots of old pictures of Harlow and mainly pictures of well known places in Harlow like the town centre, the town park and also well known parts of Harlow like bush fair and staple tye. Then on the second triptych I will have a lot more modern images of those places and take these images myself to get the most recent picture that I can. I will then put these into a triptych and match them up with the other images so you can see a clear comparison between the two and I will also try to include the year that the image was taken so you can se show much Harlow has changed over a certain amount of time. In this project we have to include images from the 50’s all the way up to the 21st century so this means that I will need to make a total of four triptychs two of them being based 50’s-00’s and then the other two being the comparisons of the first two and showing how much Harlow has changed between then and now. Also in the project brief it says that we have to include people in our images or having some one looking at the camera in the image, this will be very easy for the images that I take as I can just make sure that I include people and when taking pictures of the town this will be quite easy. However when I pick out my old images this will be a lot harder and I will have to do a lot of searching to find images with people in or somebody looking at the camera rather than using the first picture that I see.

Idea 2

My second idea for this project is more editing based rather than photography based. It will obviously mean taking quite a few images but to make the image what I want it to be I will have to do a bit of editing to change this. For my idea I would like to have multiple images of a certain place in Harlow whether this be the town, the market square or the park. To make it fit the aspect of the brief where you have to have a person in the image or looking at the camera in every image I will take one picture of a person with a blank expression on their face, in basic costume and no particular pose or body language and edit this person in to every image and the place I chose will be their background. I think that this will show how much Harlow has changed over the 70 years that it has been a new town and how quickly it has happened. I think it will also show the time scale of change, an example of this would be what I found during my research, I researched the Harvey Centre at a specific point in time and it didn’t even exist but then within 1-2 years it was completely finished, this just shows how quickly things change and how different things can be in such a short space of time. Much like my first idea I will need to create more than  one triptych, for this idea I will need to make 2 triptychs ,in order to fit the aspect of the brief which says that you must include an image from each decade from the 50’s when Harlow first became a new town right up to the present day. I think that in terms of taking pictures for this idea will be quite easy, I think that the things I will find difficult for this idea will be the editing and also trying to find images that are similar for every decade and that are similar to what I originally took.

Idea 3

My third idea for this project is to do a similar shoot as my first idea but lay it out in a different way to make it look more like a timeline. From my research I discovered that there a lot of different popular and well known places and landmarks in Harlow that a lot of people are fond of and enjoy visiting. Some of these include, The Town Park, The Water Gardens, The Market Square and The Town Centre. I will include all of these places and have images from all different decades. This triptych will show obviously how Harlow has changed over the past 70 years and show it from different aspects of Harlow rather than having the same location over and over again. I chose to do this because some of the locations that I would like to chose and focus on have a similar look throughout different decades and having the exact same looking image over and over again could become a bit boring and it won’t really draw attention. I don’t really have to take many images for this idea but thats really the same for my previous ideas as it includes images from the past and I obviously can’t take them myself as I am unable to recreate them. i think the bulk of the work for this idea will come from finding the older images and finding the right images that I think will suit the decade that I am focusing on and also that I think will fit the timeline that I am making. Much like my other ideas I will have to do two different triptychs in order to fit the requirements of the brief. I will also need to make sure that I include some pictures with people in as this is a requirement of the brief also. I hope that this idea will show the change in time in Harlow but from different aspects. I will also include the years in my images and the triptychs to make it a lot clearer.

Idea 4

For my final initial idea for this project I have decided to focus more on the people of Harlow rather than just mainly the places and the landmarks of Harlow. I think that over time the types of people that live in Harlow and that come to Harlow has really changed over time. When Harlow first came about 70 years ago there were a lot of young people and families that lived here as they were all moved from London after the second world war due to overcrowding. But as time has gone on the young people and families have still remained in Harlow but there are now a lot more elderly people that live in Harlow as it is a nice community for them and theres lots of things that they can easily access from their homes, where as in places like London it is a very busy environment which isn’t that suitable for them. My idea is to have a similar time line like my previous idea but it will show the different types of people that lived in Harlow or came to Harlow over time. In this current time there are a lot of young people in Harlow too as there are a lot of families in Harlow and also because of the college that means that there are always a lot of young people around the town. I will only have to have one main image that I need to take but the others I will have to find from different sources. As I need to have people in these images to show my point around my whole idea I will need to look online for these images. I think that I will easily find some images for this project in newspapers from Harlow online as I will be able to find some articles about old times in Harlow and they will also include images that hopefully have people included in them.

These are my final four ideas that I thought of when the brief war first given out for the project. I will now take these ideas and plan them in a little bit more detail and do them as rough shoots to see if the idea will work for me in my final shoot. I will also evaluate them all to give as evidence for pre final shoot experiments.


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