I set out determinedly to start to make some images for the course. I have an idea about ‘marks and traces’ and I have a notion about the grounds of Blenheim Palace, which is quite near where I live. The day didn’t go well! I have decided to start, at least, with monochrome film – I’m not sure why – perhaps it’s something to do with the past, no matter I’ll see where it goes. I appreciate that by using it I am consciously referring back; but that seems to echo with the work, with what I’m setting out to find.
I have walked the area a few times now without a camera of any kind, but today I took two film cameras and a digital camera. I wanted to be as ‘open’ as possible in gathering evidence and this trip comes after spending some time in Woodstock library in their local history section trying to find a ‘way-in’. There are many formal footpaths in the grounds, but also quite a few ‘tracks’ and I wanted to walk these less structured routes. I was doing fine until after the first location when the batteries in my medium format camera ‘ran-out’. I was cross with myself about how careless I had been. I have a roll of film exposed and some 35 mm frames as well, but the main walk was abandoned and I will return again soon and fully refreshed on the battery front.
These images then are digital and whilst I knew about the ‘calendar tree’ (my name for it) I happened on the dead bird and hanging foil on the tree above. I have a good deal of research to do and evidence to collect over the next week or so, looking for traces and marks, but also to find the trace of a narrative that I want to communicate.
It is difficult to divorce the political from this land, I may not be able to do so, but I have a strong desire to find another strand to illuminate with images, and these photographs here all provide the sort of sense of what I am looking for – though not yet the direction.