Tag Archives: seasons

We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet

2 Dec

At the same time that I was contemplating tackling a photo book for the Land in Hand exhibition, I began to think about another artist book.  For some time, I have been gathering photographs and more latterly a series of paintings loosely on the theme of woodland and how people use and abuse them.

The series of paintings already had a title “We’re not out of the Woods yet”.  This suggested a number of different meanings and interpretation.  The  U-turn by the Government on selling off woodland was by no means an end to  selling off public forest and “wild” land, so I raise an alarm that we may still have forests, but we shouldn’t take them for granted.  It references the time of austerity, but also on a wider cynical note it could refer to the fact that in many ways human cultural development has barely made it beyond a time when we lived in the woods.

I had run out of steam and inspiration with the paintings, but the series did not feel like it was sufficient to make an exhibition.  Combining images of the paintings with photographs seemed to fit well.  Then on reading haiku by Colin Blundell, I realised that many of his poems included specific trees, conjuring images very close to those I had actually painted or photographed.  So the logical conclusion was to collaborate with Colin and include a selection of his haiku alongside my images.  Arguably, since haiku is supposed to capture a moment objectively  without emotion, it seems “wrong” to link them with an image in this way, since the image impacts on the poem to create a new meaning.  But that in itself is an interesting experiment.  My photos and Colin’s poems describe independent moments, so putting them together creates a dialogue across time.

The book was put together as a “concertina” folded single stream of images constructed with 6″x4″ prints so that each image is on 8″x6″ unfolded double spread. 

We're Not Out of the Woods Yet

“We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet” – the finished book

Each spread was carefully edited to size and position the image and text.  The individual images were compiled so that they formed a loose narrative. 

I produced a limited edition of 25 of the books, currently retailing at £36 and their numbers are dwindling already.

A selection of images from the book is shown below:

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Coton Hill Allotments – Wintry reminder

15 Mar

So the day after our sunny visit to see the newly created plots (albeit interspersed with some fairly nasty hailstorms) I awoke on the 19th February to find a sprinkling of snow on the ground.  I rushed out to see the site and take some shots, and the snow was melting all around as I worked.  The sun came out and its was a beautiful crystal clear morning.

I exchanged a brief hello with Matt, walking his dog – thinking back, it seems like I have seen him on nearly every visit I’ve  made and I’m wondering just how much time he spends out here.  I can understand why anyone would want to be out walking in this landscape though.

I saw the first shoots coming through around the edge of the site, almost as a defiant thrust against the snow.  A clear sign that Spring is on the way, and it will be a race against time and weeds for the allotmenteers to get their seedlings on the go and then into the ground.  But not just yet, if this cold weather is anything to go by.

With the snow on the ground it was also all too evident just how much rabbit activity there is on the site.  Tell tale footprints led the way to burrows up to the north east corner of the site, and all around.  These mixed with bird footprints and the tyre prints of machines used to prepare the ground.

Once more I marvelled at the sculptural hedgerows intertwined with corrugated and wire fencing, gnarled trees, twisted branches and rabbit burrows.  There are some wonderful shapes, textures and details here, and it would be great to preserve the character of these.  I know that there are plans to lay the hedges, initially on the north side, and this will look good too, and will be a good way to set and manage the form of the site into the future.  But it would be a shame to lose all of the feel of the ancient landscape too.