28th June Sandford Mill – Project

Sandford Mill is a Water Treatment Plant on the edge of Chelmsford that was opened in the 1950s to provide water to the expanding market town. The facility was decommissioned in the 1980s the site is now owned by Chelmsford Museum as their out of city Science and Education unit. The Filter House is the largest building on the site that has not been given a new role.


For my third visit to Sandford Mill my gaze returned to the features inside the building rather than the exterior of the previous visit. This time I want to explore how using a different set of apparatus would influence my reading of the buildings interior.

Equipment Used

I decided to use an instant camera a film for this exploration. The camera was the Impossible 1 with a mix of impossible colour and black and White Films. I decided to use led light panels to help light the darker parts of the building and light meter to get correct exposure.


The approach for this shoot was to record images of the interior of the building focusing on details rather than the whole space within the different rooms. The instant camera was mounted on a tripod and controlled remotely via the Impossible iOS app. The led light panels were used to provide a fill light. Once the camera and lights were in place a final check was made to confirm the exposure using a light meter. Then the shutter triggered remotely to accommodate longer exposures. The images were allowed to develop and checked while on site which resulted in a slow and considered image making process. 


The Desk, July 1st, 1984, David Hockney

I considered David Hockney’s instant image approach to image making but decided against exploring this approach for the project due to lack of film to create a meaningful body of work using the approach.

Strong Image

This instant image for me was one of the stronger images capturing the limited light levels with the centre of the building.

Weak Image

This image was partially successful in the one of the float switches was correctly exposed but the other has a reflection from the flash from the camera.

Research References

No new research material was gathered for this visit to Sandford Mill.

Assessment of outcome

Even with a considered image making process I ended up with a success rate of only 60% from the images taken. The aesthetic of the instant film images did not work with the industrial decay that pervades the building. The instant film images have a soft dreamy look which  was the opposite from the story I want to tell about the building. The size of the final image did not work for me given the scale of some of the structures in the building. I did like the square format of the images and this is something I plan to carry over into the images that will be part of the final edit.


  • Andrews, B. (2017). Hockney On Photography. [online] Blakeandrews.blogspot.co.uk. Available at: http://blakeandrews.blogspot.co.uk/2008/01/hockney-on-photography.html [Accessed 16 Aug. 2017].
This entry was posted in Movement No: 3, Projects, Research Project, Surfaces and Strategies.