developing practice, obsession

Research – Elaine Constantine Obsession, Developing Practice

The film Northern Soul is based on the 1970’s when it was the music of the era,  this type of music was influenced by American Motown music from back in the 50’s.

Northern Sole can be summed up as people expressing themselves by dance and their  clothes such as the flairs and large flowing skirts.

The film Northern Sole was Based up in the North, and the film used none actors, originally it was going to be a small film,  with only a few places for viewing, however it soon became popular and everyone was talking about it, the film was shown in one hundred and twenty cinemas nation wide.

Constantine worked on this project for seven years, in order for her to finance this film she had to re mortgage her home.  Lisa Stansfield who is also from the Northern part of England played the mother in this film.  It seems by listening to coverage on breakfast TV and you tube clips that everyone enjoyed their role in producing the Northern Soul, and Dave Stubs said being an extra in this film was ‘magical’

I went to a moving stills podium : Photographers’ films symposium in April of this year. Constantine spoke about her work on the film she produced called the Northern Soul, which is about youth culture.  Some parts such as the way the teacher and pupils speak to one another, including the  pupils rebellious attitude, reminds me of Grange hill.


Screen shots below from the trailer of the Northern Sole

There seems to be influences not only from Motown , for example some of the dancing scenes’ are a combination of resemblances for me anyway, from the film Greece and dirty dancing, for the way the dancing is filmed, where the camera focuses on the feet,  skirts flowing as the girls spin around and how the girls wear socks with their well as the Birdseye footage on the dance floor, also some of the dance moves the boys do.

Screen shots below from some scenes from you tube,  all links below.

Not very clear, picture below of girl twirling and her skirt is up in the air as she moves around, so does her skirt.













While I was watching this documentary I noticed how the light was coming through the windows at both sides, thus spilling out over the dance floor and over the people dancing on the dance floor, this is the perfect representation of my idea and my final aim for my photographic creative work.


The urban open space in the film is very much like Knowle West, with graffiti and the green open landscape. The trailer shows how there has been fly tipping.

Screen shots below from the Northern Sole trailer on you tube.


Some places not just in Knowle West have fly tipping waste, such as the mattresses shown on the footage of Northern Soul. This is not unusual, however there is open landscape which covers all around Knowle West and covers the outskirts of Bedminster which  is picturesque as well as having rubbish littered in some parts.  unfortunately Knowle West is recorded in the media as a run down problematic area, this is not entirely true.  The media give the place and youths a bad reputation. Constantine’s film represents a deprived area and youth culture in a rather cliche approach, for example the way the youths speak, and the dialect.  This film emphasises a stereo typical attitude towards others and life in general along with stereo typical teenage mannerisms.  One might argue that this in reality a minority of youths today, and that the film focused on a typical class.

Like all cities and urban areas, there are good and bad parts, with certain areas that are less desirable.

The community spirit in Knowle West is second to none, I have learnt this by listening and talking with the community and residents.  They welcome you with open arms and are interested to hear your story.  They encourage positive things in the area and are more than happy for me to document there and to share my experiences in Knowle West.

My family  as far back as great, great, great, grandparents’ were from Knowle West and I feel like I am at home when I am there.

The youths in Knowle West are friendly, helpful and I have not yet come across any problems with the youths in that area.

I am in the process of creating a short video on Knowle West, I will be including video footage as well as stills, images from my series.  My focus will be on the older generation rather than the youth for this part of my project.  I will be creating my work on a tea dance where they dance waltz dancing.  They range from late seventies to early nineties in age.  Image below from my project.



The link for the Trailer from the film Northern Soul below.


Some photographs from my project on Knowle West below.







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