Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Hidden in Plain Sight

When we think of landscapes or landscape photography, it is easy to think in terms of the grand vista, however, I find that I am increasingly inspired by much more intimate landscapes. The mudane, overlooked, unnoticed micro-landscapes that are all around us. At times these are easily recognised for what they are, but at other times they may be more mysterious and abstract. John Ruskin said "Give me a broken rock, a little moss and I would ask no more, for I would dream of greater things associated with these. I would see a mighty river in my stream, and in my rock a mountain clothed in trees." I completely empathise with this statement; Ruskin was also fascinated by the smaller scale of nature as well as the wider view.
My inspiration is not the wilderness of wide-open spaces but wilderness on a much smaller scale. Robert MacFarlane writes 'I had started to refocus. I was becoming interested in this understanding of wildness not as something which was hived off from human life, but which existed unexpectedly around and within it: in cities, backyards, roadsides, hedges, field boundaries or spinnies.' The mountaineer, W.H. Murray, also wrote of the same experience as long ago as 1951. 'Through the very uncertainties of our climb my mind became unusually observant, embracing many simple things that commonly pass unregarded. While searching for a handhold the eye would alight on a blade of grass peeping from a crack, and see the amazing grace of its fluting, the fresh brightness of its green against the rock; and although the joy was that of one second the memory lived on.'

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