Marks and Traces

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.

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2 thoughts on “Marks and Traces

    • Thanks Catherine. There were at least two tress with calendars cut into the bark; I liked the way that as the tree grew older the marks grew with time, so that the older the mark the more significant the mark became, becoming more prominent than the more recent ‘cuts’. I will be going back very soon with some fresh batteries!
      Time and space becomes locked into these tress in a more obvious way somehow.

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