Who took part?

Soldiers from the Life Guards regiment.

What building did we look at?

Hyde Park Cavalry Barracks, Knightsbridge, London

Final product

Photography blog

Introduction

This workshop reflected the everyday lives of soldiers living within the Barracks. Often, only the external impressions of a building are recorded - we achieved the opposite here, with the soldiers taking part documenting the building from a personal perspective. The soldiers were asked to record their everyday activities using digital cameras and the resulting photos were uploaded onto a specially created blog site.

"It certainly gave me an insight into the architecture of the building"

(soldier, Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment)

Learning aims

  • Gain a better understanding of making and using photography
  • To develop a further understanding of how to interpret and use architectural plans and archive material in an engaging and interactive way.
  • Feel enabled to record and share their community's day to day life through photography 
  • Gain a greater awareness of their living environment

Learning outcomes

  • Practical understanding of how to use and create an online "blog" site
  • Development of photographic skills
  • Greater confidence in creative abilities
  • Greater understanding and appreciation of their living environment

Methodology

1. Exploring archive material relating to Hyde Park Cavalry Barracks

As a group, participants explored the archive material with the help of an RCAHMS staff member.

Questions the group considered when examining the archive material:

  • How has the building changed since it was first designed?
  • How have different parts of the building had to adapt to modern technology and the modern pressures of army life?
  • Has the use of any parts of the barracks changed since it was first designed?

This session was very interactive and allowed participants to:

  • Investigate the history of the building in which they are resident
  • Share their own personal experiences of life within the barracks.

2. Making a photographic record of life within the barracks to upload to a blog site

Hyde Park Cavalry Barracks workshop. Soldier with camera, July 2006

Soldier taking photographs for blog site

Many of the soldiers who took part in the workshop had little experience of either photography or using internet blogs or online communication tools.

Working with a photographer and using photographs taken from the archive, participants were shown basic photography techniques and asked to take their own photographs of the barracks, documenting their everyday activity within the building.

Participants were asked to consider the following when taking their photographs:

  • Composition
  • Camera angle
  • Balance
  • Pattern and lighting
  • Perspective
  • Shapes and lines

Participants were then shown how to upload their photographs to a blog site created for the project. During the course of the workshop, which took place over five days, participants were also able to read and respond to the comments that people left on the blog so that a dialogue began to occur.

This activity allowed participants a chance to exercise their creative skills and to gain confidence in their own artistic expression. Having an opportunity to share their work online greatly contributed to this experience.

This type of activity fully accords with the core aims and purposes of the Curriculum for Excellence and would also be appropriate for the issues studies in Citizenship and could be integrated into other National curriculum areas, for example, History, Art and Design and Design and Technology.

Materials & Equipment

  • Digital cameras
  • Laptop computers
  • Tripod
  • Copies of archive material

Further development

The creation of efficient space was an important aspect of the design for Hyde Park Cavalry Barracks in London. Consider the following questions:

  • What factors did Spence need to consider when he designed this complex?
  • Who had to be accommodated and how was this achieved? What different requirements did each group have?
  • What other spaces or places can you think of which would present similar concerns to those which Spence dealt with at the barracks?