Started by watching the Ed Ruscha video that provided a useful video monograph to his work. However I decided to dig further into the supporting material to understand the thought processes and concepts that linked together the different subjects of gasoline stations, swimming pools, apartment buildings streets. This deeper research revealed more of the individual who I would classify as an artist rather than a photographer. His work spans multiple media, photography, painting, drawing and typography, yet the sources for his work are everyday items that we might just pass by in the street.
At the heart of Ed’s work is a sense of place works I looked at where all based in California or more specifically Los Angeles.
In preparing my own response to this body of work that spans decades initially felt daunting and I wanted to make sure I did not create something that was a pastiche the subjects covered by Ed.
Early on in the process because much of my photography is located around my home and places of work I decided that I would carry that component into this work. So my first decision had been made. Location would be Essex / London.
The next challenge I had was what could I use as a subject for my work. Over the last few decades petrol stations have changed in the UK. Today very few of them are exclusively petrol stations most have mini stores connected to them. Others have closed and the forecourts and now act as the bases for small groups of people who offer to hand wash your car for a few pounds. Or in the case of our local petrol station it has been demolished and replaced by 4 houses. This provided me with two potential stories the way we interact with the modern multi-functional petrol station that fuels the person and not just the car, or petrol stations that have been recycled and are now used for a different purpose. Both worthy projects in their own right however they both felt a little bit close to Ruscha’s work.
I wanted my project to look forward not backwards as today we talk about fossil fuel as a legacy fuel but the alternatives are not really there yet. This led me to think about the fuel of the future and how we will replenish the energy in our cars. Why not bring petrol station into the 21st Century and take pictures of our potential future hooking the car up to an Electric Charging point. I therefore decided to do some internet research to find electric charging stations that are close to my home, after a few hours research I had identified potential location of 24 charging stations within a 20 mile radius of my home. With a spreadsheet of the addresses of these electric fuel stations I embarked on my project.
Alongside the the Electric Charging Station project I reviewed my archives to see if there was existing material that I could incorporate into another project that would explore a different aspect of Ed Ruscha’s work. Some of images that I had recored as part of my walking experiments had strong parallels to Ruscha’s work to record Sunset Boulvard so I committed myself to running a second project that would look at how I could use some of that material differently from the way it was used as part of my work in progress for the Informing Contexts module.