Each day I’ve been going there. There’s an odd energy that draws me into it. It’s close to home I guess. Close enough to walk, to turnaround, to not go, to stay longer, to leave filled with a sense of accomplishment or with nothing at all. I was ok with all of those things. I guess that’s its charm. Or the fact that it was simply just there in the absence of not much else to do.
I started out about 3 months ago I guess. Maybe longer. It was at the doorstep of winter anyway whenever that was. Autumn colours of browns and light yellows dotted the landscape but were beginning to fade as the chill and bite of winter began to take hold. It is a place filled like a sea of green. A pretty boring green to be honest too. Punctuated by trees and weeds and dotted with unruly natives and introduced pines that stand bolding out of place. It is by no means a glorious landscape. There’s nothing painterly or Turneresque about it and in that perhaps lies its charm. You have to just look that little bit harder to find something interesting or wait for that fall of light to descend and transform the landscape into something worth capturing, worth noticing. There’s nothing classical or rolling or beautiful about it. It’s a place that is weathered and beaten and tired and forlorn even. But with that comes a unique energy. People find comfort in its embrace, in its authenticity and unkemptness. Like the familiarity of a well worn woollen jumper, it enshrouds in an easiness. Each time I get there, often around the same time each day, I notice how people nestle into its crevasses and grooves and seek solice in its natural embrace. Couples are dotted along the narrow canal banks as meadow flowers and weeds sway in the breeze. Families find logs to use as seats as children run and play and build forts and hideouts from fallen limbs and branches. It all sounds poetic but it’s not really. It’s not really idyllic either. It is just sort of familiar. It’s just sort of there.
Each time I go there I try to find something different. A small moment or someone who catches my eye. I have no real agenda though. No focus or goal or narrative that I’m trying to achieve and this goes against how I’ve worked for most of my career. It’s a refreshing process to be honest. And even more-so working with film, to not see the photos and to hope that there’s something worthwhile. The thread will come later I guess. I hope. And if it doesn’t then that’s ok too. For once it is nice to just see how things play out. If nothing else it is a place that during a time of uncertainty has provided me with an outlet to explore this quality of uncertainty.
Perhaps that’s what I’m drawn too most about it. That each time I cross the road and walk in I’m confronted by a hopeful uncertainty. Maybe that’s what I’m capturing and what I’m looking for. A way out of what we are in, a pathway, new growth, new life, youth, flowering weeds, firecrackers and forts, canals and bike paths. Things that lead somewhere or have a feeling of a life beyond. Of more, of something, of hope perhaps.
But beyond all this, it is a place of change as it has been slowly getting altered as a landscape. Not necessarily for the worst and not really for the best either. I didn’t really try to focus on all that though. Nor did I really focus on covid or trying to do things that reflected a time or place. The masks were there if they were there and if they chose not to wear them then that was fine too. There is as much of me in these photos as anyone else I guess. But read into them what you will. Or don’t. Im not too sure what it all means but somewhere in there, hopefully, there might be something that reminds of you of something, someone, someplace or some feeling. I reckon that’s the best I can hope for anyway.