The woods are beautiful. There really is no way of improving on nature. But despite knowing this, I have had a frustrated urge to try and do just that over the last few years. In early 2010, I started studying a professional photography course, and have set many of the images for my assignments in or around the woods. It struck me that it would be wonderful if I could actually hold an ehxibition at the woods. Pictures of the woods set in the woods where they were taken.
This weekend, my dream came true. My final assignment was to hold an exhibition. For the last year I have been taking pictures with this aim in mind. What I really wanted to do seemed impossible: get a set of images that, when placed in the woods, would both enhance the woods, and be enhanced by their setting, so that both were greater than the sum of the whole.
Entitled “The Eye of the Beholder”, I wanted people to see the woods through my eyes. There is so much beauty in the detail, and by setting images of the details of the woods – the insects, butterflies, damselflies, flowers, light and shade, colour and texture – in the place where they were taken, I hoped that the eye of the beholder would be drawn into the image, through the image, and beyond into the woods themselves. Drawing people through the image into the reality beyond, and helping them to connect to the woods, and learn to see nature, and its beauty, in a different way.
So much work! Picking the right pictures, selecting the right spot (and then finding I couldn’t put the picture there because of buried stones, the need to turn the tractor, or simply poor lighting), finding the right kind of print that would be weather and UV resistant…and then bashing in the stakes (thank you, Stephen!) and mounting them.
Was it worth it – was it a dream come true? Well…this weekend we opened the exhibition (which will stay in place until November 2012), and 63 people came along to see it. And I think it worked, judging by some of the comments.
I don’t think I can ever make people see the wood through my eyes – but I DO think that by careful use of art in the landscape, the relationship between the viewer and the landscape can be made to change. These pictures don’t do the same thing when they are indoors, on the walls – nice though they look. Placed outside, in the environment where they were taken, they can improve the connection between the person, photographer and the natural world. Photography in its real element. A dream of mine, and a dream come true.
If you’d like to visit, we are open on Wednesday 29th August and 5th and 12th September between 6-8pm, as well as on our Open days on Sundays 23rd September, 28th October and 25th November. If a group would like to come, then please contact us and we can sort it out.
And if you’d like to see the video of the exhibition with music – well, here it is.