Photo-Canopy’s motivation is to widen the scope of the National Forest to new cultural audiences and to establish the Identity of the National Forest as a distinctive part of the Midlands. Photo-Canopy promotes and explores the wonders of The National Forest through photography.
The National Forest is a huge sprawling space to photograph. I concentrated my response to the Photo-Canopy residence on Swadlincote and its surrounding areas. Swadlincote or Swad, is in the heart of the National Forest. Swad is steeped in a rich industrial history and has gone through a lot of dramatic changes over the years.
Throughout the 19th century, a number of collieries and potteries were established. The growth of coalmining and the pottery industry continued with considerable cost to the environment. The area suffered from High pollution, smog, and subsidence, leaving the land scarred. The collapse of the coal and the pottery industry in the 1980s and 90s had a dramatic effect on the town and the work population. Creating large-scale unemployment and social difficulties. New conurbations have sprung up in this area, new shops and the planting of the National Forest on the old waste and industrial ground. However, Swad still seems to suffer from past stigmas. Even though the Swadlincote area has dramatically changed from the industrial period, it has struggled socially and economically from the collapse of its industries.
The photographs have captured the people, buildings and homes and its ever-changing landscape. I have focused on Swadlincotes unique suburban spaces and the little eccentricities of suburban life of boundaries and flora. Furthermore capturing the ever-changing facades of the town centre and the once industrial spaces. Given that space is never neutral, the work concerns itself with private and municipal spaces. The photographs also deal with the everyday spaces of its environment. The photographs allow us to appreciate the everyday.
They entice us to give pause for observation and reflection, on a site that is often glimpsed but scarcely ponded upon. Once we look and observe the doors of perception start to open. The more we stop to observe, the more we can experience the possibility of reality, blending into romanticism and imagination. This series of rural and urban landscapes, interiors and portraits are juxtaposed to create a playful yet ominous symbiotic relationship. The work is an autobiographical observation of my past surroundings and emotions of this unique area of the National Forest.