outland

outland promosmall flatConceived out of bad weather and winter darkness the #outland project took a firm hold of me on the 1st of November 2014 and has guided much of my past year.

Wanting to do more than simply shoot photos for others, I decided several years ago that it was time to deepen into the more self-nurturing aspects of my work by engaging in personal projects. Although it took me a while to effect this step change I took my first tentative venture into my current project on the 1st of November 2014. Leaving home in the dark hours of the morning I drove through the rain to Lytham St Annes to see if I could capture images which spoke to me of this rather staid and conservative promenade.

Two hours later, soaked to the skin and watching the dawn arrive, I knew I’d found my project.
Initially #outland was to be a purely personal project who’s only goal was to re-engage me with my craft of photography. To reset me. Beginning at the very border of Wales and northern England I spent time each week traversing the coastline in a linear fashion ever northwards, whatever the weather, committed to finding the shots that spoke to me. After a few early wobbles I came to know that I was in reality shooting my own state of mind reflected in the tide and times of the liminal landscape.

Eventually the project gained a life of it’s own and the work became freed of any shackles of expectations. Somedays the resultant images were unsatisfactory, thin and arguably pointless, at least that’s what I thought. Occasionally the places on the coast would speak strongly, mirroring my own moods and mind-states.

Dull days gave way to wet days and gave way to bright days. I remember on Ainsdale beach not being able to press my shutter button, my hands had frozen beyond numbness. Later in the year I wallowed under a high sun, willing clouds to appear to sculpt the landscape for me. Many, many times I slept under the stars, listening to the roll of tide just beyond my bivvy bag.

I walked through fog and mist for miles chasing the light. I tramped over cliff fringed headlands in the pit of night searching out a hidden cove that spoke to me from my OS map.

To date I’ve reached close to Maryport and this exhibition shares some of the moments when I and the land spoke a similar truth. Times when our joint spirits wove a similar tale of boundaried existence or fluid freedom. I should reach Scotland in late mid-winter, and then my next project awaits.

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