Pine Cone Wood

The Swiss photographer Werner Bischoff was one of the first photographers I became really interested in, about twenty years ago. In his best work, the people featured were often indistinct from the landscape they lived in. This was most apparent to me in the series he made in Cambodia in the early nineteen fifties. The farmer in the foreground is photographed from such an angle that he forms a similar shape to the towering palm trees in the background. In another image, taken at Angkor Watt, his choice of exposure renders the figure walking with his water buffalo in the same shades as his creatures, and the foliage far behind.

As time passes, and I form a deeper bond to this place where I live, I enjoy more and more photographing the people who live here in our natural surroundings. Recently, I met a series of families in a wood for some informal family pictures. It’s a place we as a town go to collect pine cones either to sell for fundraisers, or for our own fires. It’s a place where we gather the needles too, for strawberry patches. We bring our dogs here,   and sometimes wait in our cars for the dogs to return to us from whatever detours they have taken. It’s also a place where many feel they are watched, for example the family who sent back to me pictures I had taken off them, with a message to ask whether I could also see the warrior in a cloak.

So I wanted to make images which placed our people within this environment, and at one with it. Here is Hone, with Bella, on a bright morning, with the ground sharing the same shades as Bella’s fur. Here also are Corey and Marcia, placed directly in front of the two trees which reach up and out of shot. Photographed from below, the path upwards of the trees is mirrored by the positioning of these two parents who represent strength and provide shelter, just as the trees do.

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