Fenland Trees, White House Road, Little Ouse

Modern technology insists on ever-higher pixel counts as if the weight of detail was the most essential component in a photograph. If only we could witness more, ‘capture’ more, encompass more, our desire for evidence would finally be sated. The tsunami of information swamps us, flooding every nook and cranny of our lives, absorbing and occupying our natural capacity. The increasingly futile quest to record the minutiae of the visible world is a ‘will-o’-the-wisp’, a shadow play, a distraction. When the fog rolls across the Fens we stop looking, the obsession with calculation, measurement and accounting stalls and we are free to see.

At first sight, this looks like a mirror image, but it is a photograph of one of the arrow-straight tree lines seen across the Fenlands. Why there are two rows of trees planted side by side, I really don’t know; it is unlikely to be an aesthetic decision because it is so difficult to walk between them.

Anthony Trollope (1815 -1882) writes about the Fen landscape and he says, ‘a country walk less picturesque could hardly be found in England’. Trollope was familiar with the fens through his work as a surveyor for the Post Office but was unimpressed by the landscape. I think he was wrong, the Fenland landscape can be absolutely wonderful, as you can see here. There is a poetry in this place, you just have to open your mind and heart, you will see it.
 

Lark Bank

Leaving Mile End Road, just after the village of Prickwillow and following the River Lark for a mile or so, you find a part of the Fenland that is very much off the beaten track. In the fog, the landscape takes on a different mantle and there is a genuine sense of remoteness and isolation. There must be more telegraph poles here than any other area of the UK, and in the soft peat soils of the Cambridgeshire Fenlands they take on a range of jaunty angles. As a mere beginner, just deviating from the perpendicular, it will be a long and epic journey for this pole to reach the customary 30 or 40 degrees.

Lumix G9 Olympus 12-40 mm f2.8

As Poplar Drove becomes Hale Fen Road

Just south of Primrose Hill Farm, where Poplar Drove becomes Hale Fen Road, I caught sight of a farm building on the far horizon. I left the car at the side of the track and walked for half a mile across open fields, crunching the wheat stubble and water logged ground beneath my boots. The watery sun was catching the gable end of the barn, and a halo of soft light animated the space around the buildings. I took a series of photographs whilst walking towards the farm and kept my fingers crossed the fast changing skies would leave a window of opportunity. The photograph published here here was one of a series I took at Hale Fen this morning.

Lumix G9 Olympus 12-40 mm f2.8

Statues in Milano, Italy
Statues in Milano, Italy

If you believe access to Art is an essential component of a life well-lived – assuming basic critical needs have been met – then you might decide to live in the Northern city of Milan. Architectural beauty exists on almost every street corner in the city centre of this commercial metropolis, and it is a visual and spiritual delight. When you also factor in the high probability of coming across sculptures of this quality, adorning a facade or the entrance to a doorway, you know you are in a place where life and art coexist and complement each other. It was E. M. Forster who said, ‘Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted’. I think he was on to something.