Wednesday, 6 March 2013

On Swanscombe Marsh

Not much activity on the blogging front recently I'm afraid, but I've not been idle! I've just started work on a new project photographing the area known as Swanscombe Marsh, which is situated just east of Dartford in Kent on the banks of the River Thames. The project is being undertaken by a group of photographers from Crossing Lines - a collaboration between Goldsmiths University Centre for Urban and Community Research and London Independent Photography. The idea is that each photographer will approach the project in their own way and a more complete and varied picture of the place will eventually emerge. I will certainly be interested in seeing other interpretations - nobody's vision is exactly the same and there will obviously be a variety of approaches.

The area consists of low-lying marshland and old quarries on the margins of the city of London and is the site of a proposed redevelopment involving a huge Paramount Studios theme park. These photographs show it as it exists now - a windswept, rather desolate place with traces of past industrial activity and evidence of recent attempts to fence it off and discourage members of the public from access. However, it is traversed by public footpaths and is used by dog-walkers and other local people for recreation and exercise. It is not an area which could be considered traditionally beautiful, but its derelict wildness lends it a certain stark and shabby kind of beauty, and the combination of expanses of sky and water give it a wide-open feeling.

This is an area of the country which is not familiar to me and I have no emotional attachment to the landscape. However, I hope that the photographs will be more than purely documentary in nature. As ever, I will be attempting to evoke a sense of place, using the weather and light to convey the particular mood and atmosphere of the area. Depending on weather conditions I may experiment with black and white but for now I have chosen initially to photograph on medium format colour film with the Hasselblad - using this camera automatically slows you down and allows a more contemplative mood to permeate the images.   

1 comment:

  1. I see what you mean about personal distinctiveness. Even where the content of shots is similar they are seen differently. I like how the low angles you've used give more shape to the landscape.