It was so quiet, my first night in the country as I lay next to my wife in a strange bed. I had to get up, but couldn’t find my way back in the darkness. The dark, and the silence. These were my introductions to living in a small town an hour or so north of Wellington, New Zealand.
I’d been here before, but the parts you go to as a tourist-even one with a backpack, not a suitcase-meant I was in a different country that time. I hadn’t felt the same things when I was transient, only passing through.
But that first night here for good, with a pregnant wife, with the dark and the silence, are the memories which have roots, rather than the other, more glamorous moments which I struggle to recall with any feeling.
It’s nearly ten years on now, and rather than shake of my early impressions, they have only grown deeper. People haven’t lived here for long. The rest of the world is across oceans. Nature will have her way. Day to day you bury or ignore these things, otherwise, how would you function? But they come to the fore when I make images about the place where I live.
The plan for the recent series of landscape images was to produce work which could have a saleable value, something to tick over during the less busy months. What has happened instead however has been the desire to represent the dread of living here. Not that I don’t love living here. The love just rests on something heavy, that’s all.
So we’ll see if any of the images shift. One good friend has already described them as beautiful, but that she needs to look away. Which I’m quite proud of. But it’s not like there are not other ways of making a bit of cash, if I haven’t found a way to combine comerciality with something personal.