Another ‘slow-cinema’ impression of the pastoral pleasures of my local landscape, and this time it’s the rapeseed field by Bysing Wood, alive with the buzz of insects and bird song, and desaturated by early evening sunshine.
My recent trips to Fox’s Cross to photograph the splendour of the Blackthorn blossom have inspired a further entry into the Lost In Fields series of short, stills-based films. What a contrast with No.8, inspired as it was by desolate frozen wastes and luckless polar expeditions. Here, I was going for something as fleeting, delicate and ephemeral as the blossom itself, including too the songs of the robin and the skylark, both of which soundtracked our time in this, another of Kent’s ordinary/extraordinary fields.
An eighth film in the Getting Lost In Fields series, a marked departure from the impressionist fantasias of some of my other photographic expeditions into the ambience of particular patches of wild and ostensibly unremarkable local landscapes. The photographs comprising the roomy and doomy tableaux characterising this little moving image piece were taken during the short snap of very cold weather in early February. The snow had the effect of transforming a concave collection of unruly grasses, denuded shrubs and brambles into a near extra-terrestrial vista, with the surfeit of texture producing some excitingly illustrative images. While putting this film together, I kept seeing images of wearied polar explorers trudging across unforgiving tundra, or exhausted astronauts on inhospitable planets. It was bitterly cold while taking the original photographs, the wind coming straight off the sea, so I was very happy to walk only the few minutes home to sit beside the stove with a mug of tea.
On the cusp of the new year, I wanted to avoid any further musings on 2020 as they might relate to the pandemic, not least because I suspect the ‘new year’ is going to feel a lot like the old one – at least for a while. Instead, I’ve gathered together all seven ‘Lost In Fields’ films as my swansong to a strange, slow year that was not without its simple pleasures and rich in moments of beauty.
A seventh short little exercise in seeking to evoke a particular place and time through the simplest means of image, movement and sound. Our trip out to the nature reserve at Oare, Faversham, Kent coincided with a wonderful sunset and pellucid moonrise, our slow shamble among the tall feathered reeds and every-which-way grasses accompanied by the haunting trill of curlews. As the light faded further, the landscape just fell away into tawny softness. It was other-worldly out there. I hope this short film expresses some of that.
Getting Lost in Fields is a series of little films prompted into life by the Kick-About #6, which saw me attempting to evoke the rhapsodic sensations of being out and about with my camera in the fields of Kent during the Spring lock-down. I didn’t know there would be a fourth film – or indeed a fifth, but there’s something simple and satisfying about combining these impressionist photographs with Kevin MacLeod’s evocative musical miniatures. I didn’t know there would be a second lock-down either, and this new film results from two very peaceful afternoons spent walking along the Tankerton seashore at the outset of the new restrictions, with just the sound of the waves for company and the dying of the light.
Getting Lost in Fields is a series of little films prompted into life by the Kick-About #6, which saw me attempting to evoke the rhapsodic sensations of being out and about with my camera in the fields of Kent during the Spring lock-down. I didn’t know there would be a fourth film – or indeed a fifth, but there’s something simple and very satisfying about combining these impressionist photographs with Kevin MacLeod’s evocative musical miniatures.
I’d be the first to acknowledge no artistic boundaries are being tested here or new cultural frontiers explored – and yet I do feel as if this is as close as I can get to taking other people with me into the nebulae of Boughton Scrub on that late September afternoon to experience the peace of it, the ruffle of the breeze, and the melancholy.
The film series Getting Lost In Fields began as a response to this Kick-About prompt, in which I challenged myself to use my numerous photographs of local fields, pastures and scrubland as the basis for some moving image work. Really, I wanted to seek to share my feelings about these landscapes, what it was like to walk within them and how it felt to encounter all this beauty. Since then, I’ve been back to Knave’s Ash, where the parched hay meadow had been rendered in golds, coppers and chalk by the late Summer heat.
I find there is always something rather melancholy about August. It is the beginning of the end of things. In approaching this fourth little film, I very much had the idea of an elegy in mind.