Thursday, 9 February 2012

all tied up ; untold stories from a walk in the woods

Nothing like a birthday to get one thinking of bows and gift wrapping. Walking around Hawkwood last week I carried only my iphone, as dog was ill, and I knew that if I took a real camera I would be out walking for longer than would be good for her.

When I came home I was somewhat surprised by the collection of images that I had made of bits of string.

What fascinates me more and more is why we choose to take pictures of certain things. Most of the time I cannot explain what prompts me to click the shutter. Walking past the barn I was drawn to some blue string; probably prompted by the image of an empty barn that I created the week before and influenced by Zarina Bhimji's  work.

 Zarina's website

 I think of these images as 'fragments' , 'remains' or 'traces' of earlier, unseen human activity.

There is something attractive about knots and trails of coloured fibres. I can't say that I was conscious of any deeper meaning when I made the images, but what about the subconscious?

What would the viewer make of these?

How will they be interpreted?

 Of course knots are symbolic of life and relationships, but could also have other connotations depending on the individual viewer's perspective on life.

This one puzzles me the most; a bow of hazard warning tape tied high up in a holly tree, way out of reach. There must be a story behind this one, just as there must be for the pillow that still lies in the undergrowth, now covered in snow, and shown in an earlier post when first discovered.

This pillow has become a source of fascination; I find myself looking forward to passing the place where it lies, wondering if it will still be there, and how it will look. I have photographed it with a  variety of cameras from Rolleiflex to Holga, and await the prints to see what will work best.

There is a story to be told, and I feel task before me is to tell it. But what the truth is, no one will ever know.

David Ward , landscape photogpraher talks about photographic meaning in the latest edition of On Landscape magazine. He talks about meaning with reference to landscape photography. He might argue that these images are not landscapes, but for me they are as much a landscape as the traditional mountain or countryside scene. 

The difference is that rather than just being an expression of how the landscape makes me feel, which is how I would wish people to view my more traditional landscape work, these may be trying to say something more. 

Time will tell..........


  1. Interesting how these fragments catch hold and lead us into unplanned explorations - I also enjoyed the link to Ward's talk on meaning.

    1. You are right; I spent my whole walk today in the cold and snow wondering about the way I am now drawn to capture knots and bows in the landscape. Hazard warning tape around trees was today's subject; there is nothing dangerous about the trees, and yet they can be percieved as such