Henry Fox Talbot once wrote to his friend, the astronomer Sir John Herschel, asking him for any spare plant bulbs he might have to practice his new technique that he called ‘photographic drawing’ a technique he believed would be of great help to botanists. Herschel came up with a name that stuck – photography.
This is a series of images I’m working on through 2019. Tillandsia, commonly known as air plants, are a fascinating group of plants with an extraordinary range of morphologies. I’m particularly interested in creating relatively minimalist images of these plants that capture their variety of form and the way in which they interact with light. The plants themselves often have adapted cells on their surface to help with the trapping of water, in turn these give their leaves a variety of colours, from silver-grey through to green. Each plant, it seems, reflects light differently providing an almost endless set of possibilities for the photographer.
The shingle expanse of Dungeness in Kent, England, is one of the largest in the world and a favourite haunt with photographers due to the surreal nature of the landscape. This abandoned boat has probably been photographed countless times. Got to love this place, it has enough wrecks, weird houses, boardwalks, nuclear power stations and lighthouses to keep a photographer happy for many an hour, and the weather keeps changing too!
Like many photographers, I’ve visited Dungeness countless times over the years. Ironically, during all these visits, I’ve never met anyone who knew much about the old boats so characteristic of the area. However, on one visit I was fortunate to meet the grandson of the guy who built one of the old “wrecks” in 1946. It was interesting to hear his views on the management of the Dungeness Estate and the desire in some quarters to see the old boats and sheds removed. Personally, I think the area would lose something of value were it “tidied up”, though how you tidy up a nuclear power station on the horizon, I’ve no idea.