An Audience of Character

For my lightning talk at the On Landscape conference, I considered how my images of water were evolving. I talked not just about using the water’s surface as a canvas, but about loosening the knots of representational landscape photography. Since turning my back on the hills and views, I’ve photographed incident, motion and light; streams and rivers and pools in the abstract; played a little with movement on land and my own progress and that of others through the landscape. I now find myself taking another turn in the path.

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. 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. Now I’m turning my lens on that audience and looking to show them in a new light.

As I want to have time to work up my ideas and see how or indeed if it works as a series, after sharing the first image (seen below) in December I set myself a moratorium on social media sharing. Too often we impose on ourselves false pressure to review, process and share images quickly to show that we too have been busy and productive when a little time and distance can often refine our ideas further. I’m also attempting to writing some prose to accompany the images, inspired by reading the excellent Alice Oswald’s poetry in “Falling Awake” - like the river it bears patience, and repetition. Whether mine will remains to be seen, but it’s good way of stretching the grey matter!

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