Artist: Mick Thurman
It is, they say, more about the beauty within. The county of Bedfordshire (area 1,235 km2), and my home town of Luton are hardly famous for their grand vistas or natural landscapes, so it might seem that the opportunities for making images on my doorstep might be pretty limited. That’s not so though. By looking at, and more importantly seeing, things a little more closely, I find myriad opportunities arise.
One such possibility was inspired by the writing of Henry Peach Robison in his book The Elements of a Pictorial Photograph (1896). In this rather insightful ‘how-to’ guide, Robinson talks about how there is a lack of art produced – paintings or photography – in the winter months; that seldom [is] seen “on the walls of an exhibition is any carefully studied representation of the more elaborate detail of wintery nature – all the varieties of frost, black frost, white frost, hoar frost”.
With this in mind then, over the past couple of winters I have started seeing and photographing the patterns and textures formed by frost on car windscreens at the side of the road, and in the ice puddles on the country tracks.
The camera, of course, records the frost pretty much as it is presented; forms and shapes cast in a grey/blue hue with a smattering of lighter lines where the ice crystals stand proud of their neighbours. These images of themselves can produce some amazing effects – the sort of pictures Peach Robinson was alluding to, “when the frozen dew…sparkles with the radiance of jewels, and weaves arches, bowers and festoons, creating an arctic fairyland”.
The scope and possibilities for the production of artistic photographs in the late 19th century were, of course, limited by the black and white nature of the medium at that time. The advent of colour film, and then digital capture and post processing techniques, offers the ability to take these base images to another place – to look deep within and seek other creative opportunities . My aim with this project is to create, from local nature and natural phenomenon on my doorstep, pictures with a greater sense of depth and wonder.