Film: Lost In Fields Part 8 – Saxon Shore Scrub, February (2021)


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.



Saxon Shore Scrub #4 (2021)


A final set of photographs from the scrubland at Saxon Shore. I went down into the basin, where the snow was lying thicker, and even though there were people walking their dogs nearby and a line of jolly beach huts just behind me, I knew the strange corrugations of the snow would produce ‘off-world’ spectacles if I effaced any obvious measures of scale from the compositions and pushed the focus into the very back of the image. Sure enough, I’ve ended up with a set of photographs strongly reminding me of slightly creaky establishing shots of alien planets in the oldest episodes of Doctor Who. They manage to seem both expansive – and tiny – at the same time, like miniature sets purporting to be epic terrains.



Saxon Shore Scrub #3 (2021)


It snowed more heavily towards the end of this week, so I returned to the ostensibly unremarkable basin of grasses and bramble that had offered up such improbably cataclysmic and other-worldly imagery on my previous visit. This time, the sun was out and a thaw already underway, the bright light bouncing off the snow drawing attention to all the wonderful cross-hatching of the grass and the scribble of the brambles. Another section, where the snow was caught among the taller skeletons of some other wild plants, offered up visual rhymes with the waves only a short distance way on the other side of the sea wall.



Saxon Shore Scrub #1 (2021)

At last some snow – not a huge amount, and of the dry, powdery variety, but the wind chill has been fierce. That said, we went out for a very brisk walk yesterday, along the beach, past the oyster beds and up towards Seasalter.

Leaving the beach, we walked over the sea wall and along the short cut-through, to one side of which there is a large basin of tall, tufty grass. The snow and ice had turned the grass into a motionless sea, frozen boisterously in cresting undulations. As black and white landscapes, the provenance of the resulting images is difficult to discern, this patch of wild scrub roaring like unleashed flood water.