During the easter holidays whilst my siblings are off school, I decided to take them for a walk up Ilkley Moor. This is a place I have walked several times over the last few years and the miles upon miles of barren land, luscious green views and blue skies reminds me very much of home. Since we cannot travel to Scotland at the moment, I wanted to take my siblings for a walk up the moors, and explain to them why these areas of Yorkshire remind me of home. I also think it is important to show them the beautiful areas they are growing up around, to allow them to hopefully create the similar memories I have with my dad back in Scotland.
Prior to this outing, I was researching into this idea of landscape and memory and came across photographer Michael Lange, who explores the emotive narrative that can be portrayed and perceived through different landscape photographs. In reading his piece written as part of his WALD: Lanscapes and Memory project, featured in Lens Culture, Lange talks about this idea that our memories are embedded in the landscapes we see. These views are essentially a blank canvas, allowing us to interpret our own meaning, feelings and perceptions of what we see. In his piece written for Lens Culture, Lange quotes historian Simon Scham who states ” landscapes are culture before they are nature, constructs of the imagination that are projected into woods and water and rocks” (Scham, n, d.). Playing on this idea of silence and emptiness, Lange’s project aims to use visual imagery to portray a blank space where the viewer can then create meaning based on their own perception. In Lange’s words ” landscapes do not exist per se. They’re created by the artist. They exist through his perception and perspective in combining multitudes of elements like weather, light and trees, shrubs, grass and moss” (Lange, n. d). I really like this analogy of space within visual imagery because I feel I can relate it to my own project. I have created happy memories in my mind of the walks I would take with my Dad as a child through the highlands, and with this created a range of different happy feelings and emotions that I now relate with this space.
(Lange, n, d.)
Taking just my Nikon D850 camera and 24-70 zoom lens, I captured natural photos of my siblings climbing the rocks and of the views surrounding us at Ilkley Moor. For me, I walked around this space thinking of how similar it is to Scotland. It made me think of home and of the walks with my dad. However for my siblings they had a different perspective and feelings associated with this space. My siblings really enjoyed the walk and repeated numerous times that they are lucky to be born and growing up in such a beautiful place. It was interesting for us to appreciate this walk in very different ways, yet with the same feeling of love and gratitude. This idea of personal perspective is something I have talked about throughout this project and is important in the creation of my work. To be able to use my photographic skills to narrate a story of my memory of home and my life in Yorkshire is something I am very passionate about. I would like to continue working in this way, using landscapes as my studio space to create work that portrays my own personal perception but that can also be interpreted in a a different way by the viewer.
Galloway, L. (2021) Ilkley Moor. [photograph] Ilkley Moor
Lange, M. (n, d). WALD: Landscapes and Memory. Lens Culture. https://www.lensculture.com/articles/michael-lange-wald-landscapes-of-memory#slideshow
Lange, M. (n, d). WALD: Landscapes and Memory. [photograph].https://www.lensculture.com/articles/michael-lange-wald-landscapes-of-memory#slideshow