I’d seen similar photographs to this a few times over the past rather, mainly when Rotherham hit the headlines for the child grooming gangs operating in the town. Now I don’t want to get into that side of the story (and any comments posted about it will be deleted), but the photograph itself was an interesting one. Trouble is I’ve never been to Rotherham and as it’s a couple of hours drive away it’s not somewhere I could access quickly or easily. However, with the use of google earth and google streetview I set to work trying to figure out where it was taken. This I eventually managed, but redevelopment hampered my ability to photograph from here, to the point that I had to use a compact camera rather than an SLR.
This limitation extended to the ability to compose and I’m not entirely happy with any of the photographs that I took, but I’m not sure I could do any better in the circumstances. Still, that’s all I’ve got, so until I can go and explore the town further, I’ve been exploring different crops. The key components I wanted were the rooftops and the steel mill in the background, a composition used by photographers such as Walker Evans and Bernd and Hilla Becher in a number of photographs. But this scene lacks a focal point, so although I wanted a panoramic crop, I opted to gave it a little more height to give more foreground and a little more depth.
Compared to the steelworks at Scunthorpe with its massive blast furnaces and cooling towers, there is nothing here that identifies the Aldwarke works as a steel mill – it’s just some massive sheds and 4 chimneys. The steel making process here uses electric arc furnaces that convert scrap and this is all contained within the sheds rather than blast furnaces that convert iron ore to molten iron that are normally out in the open.
Overall, I don’t regard this as a successful photograph – I just couldn’t find the composition I wanted from the vantage point I had. I couldn’t find a crop that worked either.
Anyway, this was a flying visit to Rotherham so I didn’t get to explore further and seek out different views of the place, so a revisit will be in order the next time I’m in the area. Meanwhile next week another look at the Scunthorpe steelworks, somewhere I last visited in 2009…..