Followup to Failed Covert Exercise

_FJ18632A fellow student (thank you Emma) reacted to the picture above when it was included within the Covert Exercise That Failed; following her comment I have reviewed the raw images and created this mini-series shown below.

Having recently read Marc Augé essay on supermodernity (1) I was attracted to the setting and the lone pedestrian as an example of Augé’s concepts of non-places (see here), and our relationship with the urban environment.

The pictures weren’t taken with the intent of showing them as a series so they lack consistent framing and have had just enough post production to create a contact sheet. I am intentionally leaving them as “rough” edits to reflect the method of capture (see here) and the mundane subject matter.



(1) Augé, Marc (1992) Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity (Translated by John Howe) (accessed at the University of Buffalo 16.2.16) –

This entry was posted in 1 - The Unaware, Exercises and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Followup to Failed Covert Exercise

  1. Catherine says:

    I think it’s brilliant and a wonderful example of non-places. Thanks for introducing me to that concept as well.

  2. Rob Townsend says:

    This is great. I’m not familiar with the non-places concept but here I simply see an engaging vignette of a man bewildered by the surreal experience of seeing the rural facade invading the urban landscape. To me he’s considering going through the door but decides against it. It’s a fantastic minimalist ‘one-act photo play’ (a much underused format IMHO).

  3. emmapocock says:

    I enjoy the narrative in this; I feel like he is “casing the joint” though his motives are unclear. The mundane becomes interesting simply because you have photographed it, a great example of the power of photography.

  4. lynda512863 says:

    I think these contacts work as a series. I was not familiar with the concept of non-places either – my lesson for today. I totally agree with Rob’s comments. I think you have captured the man’s reactions/puzzlement perfectly.

  5. mcomber says:

    I think these work well as a very short story. It’s as if he is being shown the back-stage area behind the facade.

  6. Fitz says:

    Made me smile Steve. As someone who spends so much time travelling through archetypal non-spaces (airports) – it very much reminds me of the bewilderment I observe in those places. Out of interest – was the subject interested in what you were photographing through the door when he came into the scene, or was he already there. I sometimes find it a useful construct in street photography to express an interest in something just to see if that encourages passers-by to do the same and become part of a scene.

    • Thank you Fitz. I had been standing in this general area with the rural photograph as a backdrop for some time. I had selected it as a possibly interesting setting and was waiting for something to happen. Because I was in effect using a concealed camera, i.e. it was at waist height, not being held and being fired with a remote release, I don’t believe that I was impacting the scene in any way. This chap appeared and spent a few minutes wandering around watching the door, like most people who have commented I interpreted this as an interest in the door or where it led to. However, the truth is that he turned out to be waiting for someone who eventually appeared from the doorway – an event I didn’t photograph as it spoilt the story I had by then created.

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