A little update…

It’s been a little while since I last posted up on the blog (though not as long as on other occasions). I have been quite productive on the photography front, I just haven’t quite got it all ready to go just yet. So, I thought I would post up an image from the recent project and explain what I am trying to do.


This project is called Verdant. All of the photographs for it were taken during June in Grovely wood. I was out walking the dog one evening. I had a 70-200 telephoto lens with me as I was hoping to capture some images of the deer that can often be seen in the wood. I did get some photos of deer, but they were pretty average to say the least. Whilst I was there, I did capture some interesting images of the trees that caught my attention.

During the last month, I have tried to create a body of work using the greenery of the wood as a key theme. I have tried to construct images that work together using the idea of light, form and hue. The aim of the work is to try to build a series that is subtle in its focus, where the viewer looks at the images to see the similarities and differences between them. The work is about diversity, not in terms of the variety of images themselves but what they intend to illustrate.

I am quite a cognitive person, by and large. However, for this project I wanted to drop as many preconceptions as possible and go with the ‘flow’. I wanted all the images to have a family resemblance. The unpicking of what it all meant to me was to come later. For the project I just wanted to go with my feelings about the images. In my view, I think it worked well. It’s certainly an approach I will use again and develop more over time. Along with the winter images I took of the snow storms in Porthleven earlier this year, this has been my favourite work to date.

I will release more about the project, such as a video (and possibly some kind of Podcast), as I am looking to shake this blog up in the coming months and shift its focus a little. More on that to come…




Little things


I was walking near to Grovely woods today, when I spotted this little item left on a branch. It reminded me of the strange mask that I found in another part of the woodland. This woodland definitely has a bit of creepiness about it. People I know locally  have an odd feeling about it. The dog doesn’t care though, he was just keeping an eye out for small furry things to chase!

There is a dark history to the woods, which makes it all the more intriguing. Apparently, as it is such a large woodland, there are quite a lot of old buildings and things ‘lost’ in the woods. One to explore some more. Let’s hope there’s no wicker men in there…!

Woodland return

Earlier in the week I went up to Grovely woods, taking my 2 year-old son there for a walk. I grabbed a quick shot whilst I was up there, but wanted to return again to the woods. This evening, I went back to the patch of woods that I was at earlier in the week and got this image. Again, time was not on my side (a common thing with three young children aged 6 and under)!


One from yesterday that I didn’t get time to post up beforehand. I took it whilst going for a walk through my local woods.

The watcher in the woods

First image from the 5×4 camera. This was the shot that I thought I had messed up, but it turned out OK. Not great compositionally. However, this is the strange mask that I returned to photograph a week later and was gone…


Grovely Wood

Recently, I have taken to doing some photography in Grovely Wood. It’s a strange place that reminds me of some parts of Cornwall (where I grew up) that have an eerie occult feel.  I went to the woods several weeks ago to try out the large format camera for the first time. As I walked through the wood, I saw a ceramic ‘goblin’ mask pinned to a tree staring at me. Initially, it sort of freaked me out, then I thought “hang on this’ll make a good shot to do with the new camera”. So, I took the shot (then, possibly messed it up by double exposing it whilst cocking up the dark slides, but that is another story). I must admit sticking my head under the dark cloth was a little unsettling at the time especially as I was focusing on the eyes of the mask through the magnifying loupe! I haven’t seen the mask since I have returned to the woods…

Whilst I was out there shooting this week, I saw some more interesting things. There were a couple of odd ‘gnarled’ trees amongst the straight trees which line the roman road that cuts through the woods. On closer inspection, I saw that one of the trees had a small cloth ‘bag’ in red and white in it. I have seen similar things at ancient sites in Cornwall too. I took a few shots of the tree and another one near by.

I checked up the trees on good old Wikipedia afterwards, and it said that four sisters were murdered here for apparently being witches and that the trees have seemingly grown above their graves. The wikipedia site also said that people left offerings to the sisters at the trees, which I guess is the bag that I saw.

When I lived in Essex, I lived just up the road from Matthew Hopkins house (now a nice restaurant) – he was the most infamous witch hunter in Britain in the 1600s. The nearby town of Manningtree was also a popular drowning and hanging spot for witches too!

As would be expected, all these spots are regarded as being haunted, Essex is a particularly popular place for ghosts to hang out it seems…

I also saw a couple of hides whilst I was there and photographed them too. The only other creatures I saw in the woods were a few jackdaws and deer.

My original intention was to shoot some test shots on digital then come back and commit the best ones to 5×4 black and white film (lovely Kodak Tri-X!).

I expect as I explore the wood further, I might come across a few more odd things. Either way, the wood has a very odd vibe to it!

Here are a few shots in the meantime…