Back to the traditional four presentations, starting with Angela Schooley’s investigations of woodlands and commons in south-east London. The selection favoured winter when the architecture of trees is more visible. Discussion went to two questions: one, the recording of the changing nature of places with the seasons, the other to the possible need for innovation in landscape photography – from close understanding of the place or from an imposed scheme?

John Levett’s new project favoured the latter. On the face of it the images are a landscape presentation of Cambridge airport (cargo, mostly) and the nearby settlement of Cherry Hinton. Under the surface, thoughts of how the idea of England is formed, represented, manipulated, how a present folklore is brought into acceptance, how aspects of personal history have brought him to this project.


Chris Burke followed with studies of two celebrated structures, long known to him. The Midland Hotel, streamlined Deco-Modernist and recently restored stands on the seafront at Morecambe. The photos sought to contextualise it with the remains of the railway station that had brought pre-war holiday-makers to the now-reduced resort and with other attempts to revitalise the town. The Ribblehead Viaduct which carries the Settle to Carlisle railway is a monument to C19 engineering and also the place where at least a hundred construction workers died. The shanty town which was built to house them has disappeared. The photos, taken in mist and rain, emphasised the extreme exposure of the site as much as the heroic aspect of the structure itself.

Here’s what Chris had to say about his images:

Most people, most of the time, shop in supermarkets, which are largely homogeneous and uniform and crowded and full of homogeneous products; there’s something inhuman and stifling about them – a global phenomena.  Here this market is spacious, not overcrowded and more on a human scale.  There’s something un-clinical about what’s in this image – there’s a uniqueness about it – this is the covered market of Morecambe and could not be easily confused with another market.  I like the flags – why are they there?; the single figure, walking in a relaxed manner; the look of the building – not trying to be anything but what it is : the downtown cheaper alternative to the national, ubiquitous supermarket.  In fact, an entire project could be devoted to this place.
The image is also an interesting composition, your eye being led down the passageway, into the distance.  I like the geometry of the composition, reminding me of the work of the Dutch painter, Pietr Mondrian.

Barry Cole closed with a report on a visit to the war graves of Flanders. Fields of gravestones, renovated or recreated trenches on both sides of the first world war lines brought the question of national folklore and the public memorial, implicit in the previous two presentations into the open. But the question of how one communicates something beyond the material presence of the memorial remains.

Report by Peter Luck