I have been putting some words together for an online magazine about my latest project “The Blast”, and thought that sharing some of them here might give more background to what I have been trying to do with this new work.
Dragging together “landscape” and simple “still life” images has been a real struggle, but something I had to go through to frame the work correctly (correctly in my mind anyway). Perhaps the hardest bit has been editing the hundreds of pictures down to ~60. One can’t show everything and after ten years that it difficult. With that in mind I have attached a few rejects to this post.
In 2015 (after a comment from a friend) I realised that my relationship to Blast Beach on the coast of Durham has informed and almost guided my practice for at least 6 years, and that I had to make a collection of pictures about the space. “The Blast” is where I have visited to gather materials for many of the camera-less works I have made during that time, and it is where I go to walk and think and explore, and I know the area intimately.
It took me years to see past the industrial pollution that blights the Blast, and to see the positive stories that slowly emerge. The passing of time and signs of environmental change are within the pictures for those who care to look in detail, and the decade long duration of this project has allowed me show that.
I wanted the pictures to be true to the place, and to present a collection that anyone familiar with the beach and the unique feel of the space would recognise. But hopefully these images are not just about one small part of the English coastline.
The Blast is a place where you pick things up, where you find things you can’t quite believe or don’t understand, and industrial remnants are revealed by the tides daily. But I did not want to photograph these objects in situ, this was done so well by Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen in “Coal Coast”, and I wanted to change the context of my finds and to explore them visually. I have always been fascinated by the objects we gather and how they can connect us to a place, and how they take on a value as a result.
Whilst walking the Blast I often wonder what would be left if our society ended today, and how our lives might be interpreted by the people of the future. How would they read the cultural objects they found scattered and washed up on the beach? How would they evaluate our relationship with our environment?
For more information on the project please click here.