PASTON SIXTH FORM COLLEGE STUDENTS’ TRIP TO ORFORD NESS

On the 19th April Photography, Art and Media students at Paston Sixth Form College visited the National Trust nature reserve and historic military research facility on Orford Ness in Suffolk. A short boat crossing from Orford Quay initiated a guided walk with a site ranger. The site has special significance; not only because of its rich flora and fauna on the shingle ridges (we saw hare, deer, egrets, heron, cuckoos, birds of prey), but also because, since the first world war, the Ness has been a place of often top secret military research with now abandoned bunker-like laboratories and test sites, weathered and overgrown, slowly crumbling back into the natural shingle spit.

The location provided students with a rich variety of broad open vistas and strange architectural features as subject matter, steeped in history with clues to scientific and military developments from the First and Second World War, through to the Cold War and nuclear bomb technology. Themes from the second year photography exam paper such as “Manufactured Structures” were aptly relevant here and, as a bonus, the weather and light were perfect.

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