Locality is important to me, discovering the roots of a particular landscape. I am presently pre-occupied with the ancient lead workings on the Mendips. I am interested in “Landscape Trauma” and how the layers of history which exist, make themselves visible through the passage of time. The landscape bares the history, the scars and the spirit of those whose hard work shaped the land. These pits, rakes and ruins act as a metaphor for a graveyard, where the headstones are these relics of an industrial age.
I communicate these layers of history, myth and memory through the use of single and multiple exposures. What little remains of St Cuthbert’s Lead Works is well hidden in a tangle of brambles, scrub and gruffy ground. It was by looking at the lay of the land that my curiosity led me to fight my way through the dense branches and brambles. I am attempting to communicate this feeling of discovery of a secret place, an “object trouve”. The branches are an important factor in the compositions. They represent the hidden, the keeping of the secret, but yet they are the catalyst to the state of destruction. I will continue to explore the surreal nature of this “uncanny” landscape. Part of my reaction to this place, is one of melancholy and unease, an experience akin to walking into a scene of a horror film. It is dreamlike and mysterious.
In the night photographs, I paint light with a mixture of halogen and normal but large torches. The light created from the torches challenges reality and therefore heightens the “surreality” of the image. The shadowy figure at the end of the flue is a ghostly reminder of its history, when men and boys were sent in to scrape the cooled lead off the walls of the flue . These post industrial ruins stand now as mementos of a past reality, which through time and decay create these uncanny landscapes.