Taking stock

Over the Christmas period I take the camera down to the marshlands around Newport docks – ostensibly to see if it is possible to get some interesting shots of the factories and industrial buildings in the area. As is so often the case when I set out with a specific building or subject in mind, I find it difficult to frame any of the shots I have in mind for this area, including the power station and some of the monolithic structures around the cement works.

I’m not sure why I am focussing so much on the industrial landscape at the moment, but the buildings that surround me as I make my way into work every day continue to fixate me. I find myself endlessly searching through urban explore websites looking for intriguing structures, though I am becoming more and more sure that this is something of a dead end. It feels forced and somehow cliched - at least in the context of my work. Whilst I have always found images of urban exploration intriguing and close to my own passion for the post-apocalyptic, I feel their beauty is so often in the chaotic and rich tapestry of decay, whereas my work tends to focus on the silhouette and the skyline, simplicity and isolation. When I do happen upon a location that intrigues me it so often feels forced and contrived.

And so it is as I take the long circular walk around Newport docks. It’s a eerie and unsettling journey, as it always is when you find yourself deep amongst the giants that command the skyline from a distance. Gigantic structures whose scale is hard to accurately calculate with the human eye, it feels like a secret hidden world, off the grid and unmapped. But as rewarding and thought provoking as the journey is, I fail to capture even a handful of images that excite me. Structures either fall to far into the distance or dwarf me in the foreground – refusing to be framed, as stimulating and intriguing as the landscape around me is, I totally fail to capture its essence.

Almost as an afterthought, because I feel they are simply to common and element in our modern landscape (and perhaps, in their ecological output, to positive a one), I take a few random shots of the wind-turbines as I walk through the wetlands. The majority of the shots come to nothing when back in the studio, but a couple, where the motion blur of the turbine arms combines with camera shake and ISO noise, have a beautiful ghostly quality totally removed from their origins.

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