Trees have increasingly been recurring in my images of the River Dove, reflected in whole or part. I like the strangeness that the water’s movement, and sometimes the breeze, can introduce and the unending permutations that are possible. At the same time my images of the river have been getting softer and the lines between water and land less marked. I now sometimes wonder if this is the manifestation of my own myopia, my natural view of the world.
I’m in my fifth year of photographing my local river and it has transformed my image making. As I’ve been engrossed with the water, I’ve usually been alone save for assorted sheep and my bankside audience of trees. One day in December I decided to make a rare ‘straight’ image of one of these trees. It’s an easy favourite, a small hawthorn, one of the few with room to breathe. Three days later in the comfort of home, I wondered what might be the result of combining it with one of my soft images of the river …. and so An Audience of Character came about.
The seed was sown, an idea for a new series, which draws on recent work to further explore the ground between interpretation and construct, while mixing the sharp with the soft. Over the course of winter 2016-17 I turned my lens on my audience of trees. This collection is a punctuation mark within my dialogue with the trees; the end point and output remain to be determined.
The words in the accompanying handmade artist's book were inspired by reading Alice Oswald’s poetry in “Falling Awake”; they are a commentary upon my audience, and the occasional imagined conversation.
Rather than water being my subject it has been my conduit. It has sharpened my vision, given me permission to be myself, to play, and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing the world.
“put your ear to the river you hear trees”
From "River" by Alice Oswald