Liverpool. Calderstones Park.

Like every other photographer I am always on the lookout for images, seeing if I can find  one with the elusive spark that tingles down the spine. For me it doesn’t have to be a dramatic scene, just one where the elements fall into place. Where there’s a sense of place. It’s a constant search as I look for material for the photobooks I produce.

This shot is from a journey I made into Liverpool, to Calderstones Park to the south of the city. The park was once a grand estate and house with the various elements which went with a house of that period. The open parkland surrounding the smaller, more intimate gardens nearer the house. I visited early in spring this year, it was still cold and new growth had yet to make it’s presence felt. Wandering around the Old English Garden I found this row of gardener’s outbuildings tucked away behind a high hedge. There was something in the quiet, unassuming, workaday scene that caught my eye, so the shot was made. With the starkness of the trees so early in the year I decided that a black and white image would be the way forward, to emphasise the coolness of the day and bring out the regimented lines of the brickwork.

Calderstones Park Information.

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The Singing Ringing Tree

High on the moors at Crown Point above the East Lancashire town of Burnley stands this sculpture, The Singing Ringing Tree. It’s one of four such outdoor pieces which go under the collective name of The Panopticon, or being able to see all. Each piece is of a different design, the Singing Ringing Tree takes the shape of a wing blown tree, distorted by the constantly blowing, moorland winds. Additionally the lengths of tubing that go together to make the sculpture are tuned and as the wind passes over them a constant and ever changing series of notes are produced. It is an eerie experience to stand close by and hear the ever changing soundscape of fluting drones and tones increase and decrease in volume, produced as the winds change direction and intensity. My original image was a colour shot but there was something about the starkness of the location and the artwork that persuaded me that a black and white image would work best. If you have a chance the Singing Ringing Tree is one of the more unusual public artworks you will find.

The other three pieces are sited around other East Lancashire locations, collectively they represent the regeneration of a part of England’s north west which has suffered due to the decline of the traditional heavy industries. The locations are Atom at the village of Wycoller, Halo above the town of Haslingden and Colourfields which is built onto a former gun battery sited in the town’s Corporation Park. It is a summer project of mine to visit all of the sites to see what images I can produce from the artworks and their locations.

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The Munlochy Clootie Well

The Clootie well at Munlochy is a favourite location of mine, all the lore so because I discovered it by accident. It is located in Scotland on the Black Isle. I was on holiday in Scotland and had driven up to Dingwall and had returned via Cromarty on the tip of the Black Isle. My route back took me through the village of Munlochy and on a back road I spotted what looked to be a collection of rags fluttering through the trees.  Intrigued by this I stopped and found the Clootie Well. A cloot is Scots dialect for a cloth, the idea is that a strip of cloth is dipped into the waters of a well and tied to a tree and as the cloth decays and vanishes whatever your ailment or problem is vanishes with it. The healing well at munlochy is thought to be dedicated to St. Boniface. 

28/08/14 SCOTLAND. The Black Isle. Munlochy Clooty Well.

SCOTLAND. The Black Isle. A clooted tree at the Munlochy Clootie Well. The tradition is to dip a cloth, a cloot, in the nearby well and then tie it to a nearby tree while making a wish. Some people get carried away.

The well has proved to be very popular over time as you can see, with whole garments and shoes being added to the collection in the trees. The atmosphere is quite spooky at times, as the wind rises and falls the items of clothing take on a life of their own and movements in the corner of your eye can be a little bit alarming.  I always try to fit in a visit whenever I am in Scotland, the ebb and flow of garments, dolls teddy bears etc add that extra dimension of feeling you are being watched as you walk around the paths that snake their way through the trees. If you are planning a visit to Scotland try and fit in a visit. A word of warning though. Should you remove anything from the well it is said that you will be cursed with the original donors ailment or problem. 

28/08/14 The Black Isle. Munlochy Clooty Well.  Shiny Shoes.

THE BLACK ISLE. The Munlochy Clootie Well. The tradition is to dip a cloth, a cloot, in the nearby wel and tie it to the branches of the trees while making a wish. Some people take this a bit further as this pair of shoes proves. I wonder if they walked home barefoot?

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