This is the project that kept me occupied through the Covid pandemic. For me, like so many of us, the most marked change in the social upheaval of recent years has been the absence of other people; friends, family, clients, neighbours.
I had planned a project earlier in the year that I intended to shoot in May that would have involved a group of 3 people and as soon as we went into lockdown I realised that this idea would have to be shelved for the foreseeable future. As a lot of my work tends to include faces or figures, I struggled at first to work out what could replace it.
But near to where I live there is the site of an old Iron Age fort known as Oliver’s Castle. The high promontory is sprinkled with a distinctive line of trees swept into bleak shapes by years of prevailing winds. I took a camera up there and began to photograph over a period of a couple of weeks.
I immediately realised that these trees are a perfect visual metaphor for the new world we all find ourselves in. As artists we draw attention not just to the presence of an object that we portray, but in how we frame the object, the space that we chose (or chose not) to leave around it, we also draw attention to the absence. But, the meaning of the work exists between absence and presence and explores the intersection of the 2 notions. Absence needs Presence and Presence needs absence for either of them to exist.