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On the Edge

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For some time now, I’ve been feeling that my photography has been lacking a certain cohesiveness. Granted if you look through my images you will see themes, such as lakes, rivers and mountains, but they are somewhat of a random selection with little to join them together. Maybe that doesn’t matter, but I’ve long wanted to put together a body of work with a central theme. Now I could possibly have gone through my back catalogue and pulled something together from there, but I wanted to motivate myself to get out there with the camera with a feeling that I was creating something other than a random selection of images, no matter how good they might be in their own right.

For the project to work for me, it needs to fulfil several criteria. Firstly, it must be a subject I am interested in. Secondly, it needs to be accessible on a regular basis from home, and finally it needs to be a basis for improving my photographic skills.
In the past, I’ve tried projects based close to home, but whilst they filled the accessible criteria, the countryside around where I live is somewhat lacking in stimulation most of the time and interest soon waned.

It was on a business trip to York whilst listening to an interview with Rob Knight on The Togcast that the idea for this project came to me. I’m not sure that there was a direct connection between what Rob was saying and my project idea, but I got the idea to do a project based around the moorland village of Flash, between Leek and Buxton.

Whilst The Roaches, and Three Shires Head are locations well known to many photographers, from my visits to these locations showed me that there was a whole mysterious area of isolated farmsteads dotted about the moorlands which interested me. I grew up on the west side of Bradford and the area very much reminded me of my childhood days wandering the moorlands between the western edges of Bradford and the Worth Valley. Both of these areas are sort of on the edge. So close to major population centres, yet isolated from them by geography and almost other worldly.

So, that was the seed sown.

Over the next few days I worked on the details and came up with the project plan. The centre of the project would be the village of Flash. It’s about a 40 minute drive from home so I will be able to get there regularly enough. Other than that, there is no geographical boundary set, although the Roaches will form the southern extend, and Axe Edge the northern one. It is going to be done on film rather than digital, and probably in black and white as I think that reflect the grittiness of the area better than colour.

The working title for the project is The Edge. This reflects the fact that there are an awful lot of edges on the OS map of the area, and also that the communities there seem to be living on the edge
That’s it for now. There isn’t a fixed timescale at the moment, but notionally I want it to last at least a year so that I can capture all of the seasons. All I need now is the tenacity to stick at it.