Environmental Portraiture: Idea Development

For my environmental portraiture brief, I will be taking photographs of a retained firefighter at West Hartford Headquarters. A retained firefighter is a firefighter who is classed as ‘on call.’ They are used if needed for big incidents such as house fires or major crashes. They are contracted to 90 hours cover per week at work or home and need to be within 5 minutes of the station while on call. A retained firefighter could be seen to be doing the job as a hobby rather than for the money.

This brief stipulates that an ‘unusual job’ must be chosen. This is true of my chosen model as the council recently approved cuts to the fire service in Northumberland, leading to the loss of the West Hartford on call fire engine. This has led to the loss of retained posts and possibly more danger as out of the two whole time engines left, one is often providing cover in other areas of the county due to staffing shortages elsewhere. This leaves just one to respond to emergencies around Blyth, Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Deleval with response times from other stations at a minimum of 20 minutes.

I hope to capture the importance of the job and the respect that firefighters have in the community, despite the cuts and loss of positions.

I hope to take images of the subject standing in front of a fire engine for the exterior shot and….for the interior shot. I hope to frame my shot like this image of Republic Day parade rehearsal in New Delhi, India by Rajat Gupta of the European Pressphoto Agency.Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 11.03.02I will have the subject framed centrally like the man at the point of the shape in this image. I also hope to have the fire engine behind him, with the corner directly behind, again mimicking the shape of the Gupta image.

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