I have never been to Hull Fair before and hadn’t realised that it was such a historic tradition. It has been going for more than 700 years and is one of the largest travelling fairs in Europe attracting stalls and rides from all over.
I’m also not really someone who likes crowds but I thought I ought to go along and see what the fuss was all about. It was certainly impressive with a huge number of food stalls, big scary rides and more traditional games and attractions.
Because of the crowds I didn’t want to take my tripod so all of these photos are taken by hand holding my camera.
This week I travelled down to Oxfordshire to take some photos of Hannah and Mike before their wedding next spring. After a lovely morning visiting the church and the reception venue we headed over to Wittenham Clumps to practice some poses that we might use in the wedding photographs.
The couple had some ideas of poses that they wanted to try and chose the location as one that was sentimental to them. It had been a sunny morning but as we climbed the hill it became quite overcast, windy and very chilly. So I needed to work quickly in order to get us back into the car to warm up.
I’ve been given a short assignment to take some photographs on the theme of ‘Edgelands.’ It is a theme that is appearing in many contemporary landscape photographers work. Edgelands being forgotten or abandoned places and particularly those that are along the edge between urban and rural spaces.
Paul Farely and Michael Symmonds Roberts on their book Edgelands, describe these areas like this:
“The wilderness is much closer than you think. Passed through, negotiated, unnamed, unacknowledged: the edgelands – those familiar yet ignored spaces which are neither city nor countryside – have become the great wild places on our doorsteps.
In the same way the Romantic writers taught us to look at hills, lakes and rivers, poets Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts write about mobile masts and gravel pits, business parks and landfill sites, taking the reader on a journey to marvel at these richly mysterious, forgotten regions in our midst.
Edgelands forms a critique of what we value as ‘wild’, and allows our allotments, railways, motorways, wasteland and water a presence in the world, and a strange beauty all of their own.”
Paul Harrison and Nick Dunmer, for their project describe Edgelands as, “a photographic exploration of neglected and largely forgotten landscapes where nature and people have left indelible marks on each other. Unusable, marginalised and unattractive, these wastelands are however embedded with personal and historic resonance.”
Artist George Shaw is well-known for his paintings of the Tile Hill Estate in coventry which identify with this theme. These are two of my favourites from his series ‘Scenes from the Passion’.
(c) George Shaw; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
George Shaw; (c) George Shaw; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Contemporary Australian photographer, Mark Kimber has taken a series of photographs on the theme of Edgelands. They are all taken during the evening or at night and I like the deep blue and orange colours in them.
South African photographer Dewald Botha has taken photographs of Suzhou, in China in a collection called Edge of the city. I think these are the most beautiful pictures that I’ve found on the theme of Edgelands. The foreground is less wilderness and more parkland and the tower blocks give the illusion of a forest in the background.
For my own Edgelands landscapes I took a stroll along the edge of town to places that are signposted as being left to wilderness before development at a later date. On my way I also took a couple of photographs of places that have been neglected.
Walk to school
Land for development
Land for development
End of the road
Edge of the car park
Although this photograph doesn’t fit with the series above. I’ve included it here because I think it does fit with the theme. It was taken last winter of some stairs going from a public footpath through some woods to the housing estate lower down the hill.
While I had a nice walk, I’m not sure that these are the type of landscapes that I would normally enjoy taking. Politically I’m sure the council has a plan for most of these areas and they will be converted to housing or industrial land. The land where the cinema used to be is for sale but it has been for several years now and there is no public strategy for the plot that I am aware of.
I’ve been asked to put together some examples of my best location based photographs. I’ve included some new and old favourites from various places that I hope shows the variety and quality of my work in both informal and formal situations.
Most of these photographs were taken discretely with just one or two taken following a nod of acknowledgement from the subject.
This month I was fortunate enough to visit the Tower of London and see the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation. Most of the 888,246 ceramic poppies, designed by artist Paul Cummins, were in place; each one representing a commonwealth life that was lost during the 1914-1919 Great War.
This centenary commemoration is temporary, and now, just a few days after Armistice Day is already being dismantled. The brevity of the installation reminds us that just as the poppies are removed, so too were these lives removed from our communities.
It is a stunning piece of art, that really helps visitors picture the scale of the loss of life during that war. As you wander around the moat, it is incredibly moving to think that every one of those poppies represents a life cut short and someone that was loved by parents, siblings, wives, children, friends and colleagues. They died that we might have freedom but I also wonder what life would have been like had they lived – would they have become inventors, entrepreneurs, scientists, artists? If they had had children, how would they have influenced our lives?
It was a rainy day when I visited and there were so many people that the Police were needed to direct the crowds, and local tube stations were closed. I looked around two sides of the Tower in the morning and then came back to see the other two sides once it was dark and floodlit and most of the visitors had gone home.