Could you for a moment imagine the landscape as a ‘container of memories’, or conversely, imagine the mind as a landscape where individual memories exist as objects and features scattered about it’s internal terrain? Human experience is inseparable from that of the landscape; we have lived on it, reformed it to meet our ever changing needs, and have left it ‘littered’ with evidence of our personal and collective history. Our stories have been woven through the land, through time and memory.
When I sat down to write this my intention was to say something about transitions in landscape and this idea about memories ties in with that. I don’t mean the kind of transitions that happen from season to season or from day to night; rather those that involve human interventions, and activities that have shaped our landscape over longer periods of time. The cliffs and boulders that remain on the site of a disused quarry, years after it’s rock has ceased to be useful for industry, is now used for recreation by climbers. Old, empty buildings that slowly decay while nature begins to re-take control. A landfill site, it’s past hidden beneath green grass and grazing horses . Or perhaps a new building development that alters a familiar skyline. Our surroundings are in a constant state of flux.
These ‘transitions’ are landscape stories. They tell us things about places, the people who have been there before us, or the people who are there now. Considering that our relationship with the land is not always a successful one; stories may be tinged with sadness or with happiness; emotions contained within the fabric of a place. There is a kind of beauty in all these stories. Not a traditional kind of beauty, and sometimes it isn’t obvious, but I believe it is there if you are prepared to look for it.
From my series ‘Transitions’. Please click on an image to view in the lightbox.
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