Saturday, 5 January 2008

The essence of Wiltshire

Rolling fields, Avebury, December 2007

As I've mentioned before, I'm putting together a series on the landscape of Wiltshire, the area in which I grew up and still regard as home. It is a beautiful and historic area of the country but one that is too little known, I feel.

Wiltshire is associated most with 3 aspects:
1. Agriculture an the typically English rolling green countryside. Farming has been , and remains, a major part of the local economy. Farming has been taking place in this area pretty much since the birth of agriculture.
2. Historic sites, the really old stuff. Avebury and Stonehenge are the most well-known but the whole county is peppered with tumuli, long barrows and hill forts (e.g. Bratton Camp just a few minutes from my parents'). Stonehenge is modern architecture compared to some of the other sites, the stone circle being only 4000 years old.
3. The railways, notably Brunel's Great Western based from Swindon.

I am mainly concerned with the first two aspects, I've never really been a big fan of the railways, except to travel on.

The key is getting good images that reflect the beauty and age of the area without the distractions of modern development, major roads new houses etc. For example, one area I would have loved to include was the series of fields behind my parents' house. As a kid they seemed to go on forever, with the stream to jump, gates to scale and trees to climb. Unfortunately they are now the site of 1000 new homes.

Another drawback is the fickle weather - this is one of the wettest and windiest parts of the country.

I'll be posting my early attempts over the next few days but I'm really treating this as a scouting exercise to help guide me. In the end I hope to have about 20 finished images, including a few large format shots (so that I can print large and hang on my walls).

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