I’m currently in the early stages of making my second book that i plan to release later this year. It’s an ambitious book idea and there’s lots of work still to be done but I’m having fun and learning a lot.
The book will bring together a collection of images that i shot over a ten year period in the English county of Norfolk. A book seems the perfect format to show the work. The images below come from one of my favourite locations in Norfolk called Little Walsingham.
A place of pilgrimage, Little Walsingham has a remarkable blend of new and old world. It’s one of the most peaceful places i know. The perfect place to unwind.
More details about the book project can be found HERE
Two Priests walk through Little Walsingham, a village in Norfolk that has been a focus for religious pilgrimage for centuries
Three Crosses in a church garden – Little Walsingham
Lit Prayer Candles – Little Walsingham
It’s been over a week since i got back from my little trip up north and i still miss the mountains and lochs of the Highlands. My only conciliation is that i’m currently planning my return next year. The week i had up in the Highlands just went so fast. Far TOO fast for my liking so I’ll be staying two weeks next year.
Photography wise, the Highlands has lots to offer. If you are a landscape photographer then a trip there is a must. The history combined with the landscape offer the photographer plenty of scope for image making, but you need time for the weather and light to be right. Coming through Glencoe you could see the unique lighting that the mountain ranges produce. Light and shadow mix together to produce an extremely dramatic experience, yet within a minute (or even seconds) the whole show has moved on to be replaced with mist, rain or a mix of both. No wonder it was recently used as a location by the 007 film crew. Glencoe really does take the breath away, not only through its dramatic geography but also its connection to a tragic event . Somehow the mountains convey the drama of the geography and the history of Scotland at the same time.
Like the Highlands, Skye gets into your blood. It was my first visit and i left wanting more. I’d seen just some elements of what Skye has to offer which includes travel to the Western isles. A trip to Harris or Lewis is high on the agenda for next year. I love travelling by ship anyway, so the prospect of travelling across the sea to Harris is just thrilling. This year’s trip was a kind of reconnaissance just to see what was there. I now have an idea of what the Highlands and Skye especially has to offer. Probably the biggest draw is the detached feel of the place. It did feel like an escape and i like that feeling. Probably the biggest example of that sense of freedom was the ferry waiting to leave for the Isle of Harris. The whole ship, like most ships do, became one big symbol of freedom, escape and adventure. Next year i will be aboard 🙂
The move down south went OK, but after having the Highlands as a backdrop, i found adjusting to the area around Dumfries tricky. I left the Highlands with a heavy heart and to be honest Dumfries didn’t quite push all my buttons. If the weeks had been vice versus then maybe Dumfries would have worked. The Highlands are basically a tough act to follow. One Dumfries shop keeper asked about where I’d been and i got the reply ‘oh we have it all here!’ Er no you don’t. The second week turned out to be a holiday week rather than a photography week. Enjoyable but I barely shot a roll of film the whole week. In fact i came back with just under half the film i took, with virtually all of the shot film being taken in…. yes, you guessed right! The place that begins with H.
The last couple of days have been among of the most painful I’ve ever experienced. Strangely, Grandma’s funeral last Thursday wasn’t the worst part – the emptying of the bungalow she called home the following day takes that honour. Something felt very wrong. It was all very surreal and immensely sad as the furniture was carried away. One of the more common sentiments among many of the village residents present at the funeral and afterwards, was that it was the end of an era for the village community. It certainly felt like the end of something you never thought would end.
I had packed a couple of cameras with me and i’m glad i had them. The day of the funeral started as a bright but foggy morning – perfect for getting some moody, atmospheric shots among the trees and around Thorpe Malsor. To be honest, it was great to have a distraction, but the photography also served a deeper purpose of recording the village that had been part of Flint family life for so long. That relationship, that physical connection, has finally gone. Was the photography a form of therapy? Undoubtedly i’d have to say yes.
I took film cameras rather than the DSLR. I did pack the digital camera but then decided to stick with a 35mm SLR and the 6×6. Later it seemed right to be shooting these final (?) images of the village using film. After all, as a teenager, I’d had great fun going around Thorpe looking for images, armed with my trusty Miranda MS2 (my first SLR camera) loaded with Boots film. Fortunately the light was great during my final stay. I’ll be publishing the 35mm and 6×6 images on the blog very soon.
Finally i come to the image above. My iPhone developed major battery problems so that it could only be used if plugged into a power socket. I would have liked to have posted some images, audioboos and tweeted more as i walked around, but it wasn’t to be. Instead i took this image, using my Nokia, of the snowdrops in the churchyard at Thorpe Malsor. For many years, my Grandparents lived in the house opposite. The proximity of the church, combined with living in a fabulous old country house, made it feel very olde world England. The snowdrops in the photo add a feeling of new life. Renewal. A new start.
It was dark when i left the village. Will i return? Well i prefer to use an au revoir rather than a definite goodbye. If I’m nearby, I’ll stop to remember some childhood memories. When it comes down to it though, the Thorpe Malsor residents were right – it is the end of an era.
I’m about to start on another photography book release via blurb.com that should take me most of the winter to put together. This is going to be a big project and an important landmark book (at least for me!) that completes the first phase of the Norfolk project.
Ten years ago, i decided that i needed a long term photographic project. What began as a loose kind of photography exercise in Norfolk, ended up gathering pace and direction. After ten years, it’s time for a break and some contemplation of where to take it next. I have lots of options open, plenty left to photograph in the county, and after a year or two i’ll return.
Over the next few months I’ll be putting all of the photography together, around 80 images or possibly more, to make a retrospective book that , I think, will be the perfect way to present the first ten years of work. The majority of the photographs that have been released online have focussed on the landscape side of the project, however, the book will stay true to the original idea with a broad mix of landscape and documentary photography. I aim to release the book on March 21st 2012.
So there we have it. The final Baldixette photograph taken from the roll of film shot in North Wales in 2004. I love this remarkable little camera. It’s simple to use and importantly it puts you firmly back into the driving seat as a photographer, delivering great results with a bit of effort. You have to think and work with the camera to get an image. That’s not a bad thing for a photographer to experience in this auto-everything world.
Another shot taken using the Baldixette camera. The camera was purchased in North Wales back in 2004, although sadly I can’t exactly remember where i found it. I think it may have been a charity shop in Conwy, but I could be wrong.
I’ve only ever put one film through the camera (in North Wales) just as an experiment and to see how the camera performed as an image making tool. It was easy to use, however you had to prepare yourself before carefully clicking the shutter as it seems to fire only as quickly as you can press and release the button. There is no set shutter speed from what i can gather, making the film exposing process an interesting one.
It was fun going back to a basic camera like the Baldixette. It is a true photographer’s camera; no gadgets or software to get in the way of the picture taking. The photographer controls the whole image taking process. Hmm I may just put roll number two through the camera this summer just to see what I can get.