My default photography trip these days is to go and photograph the oil in the ditches of the estuary. Sure, I’ll get tired of it eventually, but it still surprises me how different it is each time I go. I started out regarding them as miniature, somewhat abstract, landscapes, but they’re getting more and more abstract and don’t really resemble landscapes at all now. I’m mostly drawn to the astonishing colours, although I also like the shapes and lines and swirls I find there.
As I stand with my camera, peering into ditches, I see dogwalkers and ramblers giving me puzzled glances. What can I possibly be looking at? One or two have been curious enough to ask me, but haven’t looked any less puzzled when I tell them. They obviously think I’m nuts. I get this a lot, up here. People in the south-east were usually too inhibited, or perhaps too polite, to feel they could ask the question, but everyone talks freely to you further up the country and they’re quite happy to enquire into what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. It’s not just adults, either. While I was out photographing tree roots one day, a young boy asked me what I was up to and looked totally bewildered when I told him. I could see him struggling to make sense of why I’d want to photograph that. It’s difficult to explain sometimes why you find something fascinating when most people would walk right by it 🙂