Another triptych comprising photographs taken on Sunday at Shotover.
A triptych comprising photographs taken at Shotover on Sunday.
On what was a beautiful Autumn day, I took a walk to Shotover wood to take some photos of trees. I’ve always loved Shotover, both for its place in my past and that of my family, and its own history, being as it once was the main road to London (the mounting steps at the top and bottom of the hill are particularly interesting). The following images are a few of the photographs I took.
I have been photographing the same trees – shown above – for almost 18 months now, and what started as a simple photographic record of a particular set of trees has since morphed into a project which shares certain aspects with other lines of research. I was drawn to them initially by their shape and proportions; by the fact that they reminded me of an Isaac Levitan painting, such as that below.
Since then, as my personal circumstances have changed through separation, the trees have come to signify something else. Being separated from my children for much of the week, there’s a connection between this anxiety and that which is present in the postcards of World War I servicemen, photographed in studios before they left for the Front, often against a painted backdrop of trees.
I worked on this theme previously, working with postcards such as that above and creating montages that used photographs I’d taken of trees at one-time battlefields such as the Somme and Verdun.
I remember as a small boy how my Nana would on occasion take me and my older brother to where she worked as a Housekeeper. The house was – at far as I recall – a big, white, Modernist building with a large well-kept lawn at the rear. But what I remember most was the wood which stood at the edge of the garden. I can see it now – that contrast between the manicured lawn and the wild dark of the trees, and with the work that I’ve been doing on gardens, trees and contrasts, this particular memory has suddenly sprung to life.