Can you imagine the landscape as a container of memories, or maybe imagine the mind as a landscape where individual memories are like objects scattered about its terrain? Humans are inseparable from the landscape; we have lived upon it, re-shaped it to meet our needs, and have left it ‘littered’ with evidence of our history. Our individual and collective 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 I guess that 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 that remain on the site of a disused quarry, years after its rock has ceased to be useful for industry, are 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. Such landscape stories may seem to be imbued with emotion – feelings that cling to 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 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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