Popular myths of the countryside, and narratives of the spaces beyond our towns and cities as places of sanctuary, retreat and escape are sources of great personal intrigue and underpin the motivations behind Elementary Husbandry. This body of work has formed over several years, and encompasses both my personal reflections on my immediate surroundings and my preoccupation with the representations of the British landscape more broadly.
The title of the series draws upon two founding pieces of Western literature: Hesiod’s Works and Days (c. 700BC) and Virgil’s Georgics (c. 40BC). These ancient poems conflated practical advice for farmers alongside guidance on how to lead a modest and virtuous existence. They are widely accepted as the prototypes for the pastoral motifs that have since become ubiquitous within artistic expressions of rural life and depictions of the agrarian landscape. They intrigue me in their use of the land, and in particular its stewardship, as metaphor and allegory – an approach that continues to be developed by contemporary artists in many different disciplines today.
My photographs engage with ideas around the pastoral in terms of the content and visual language employed, and also in my attempts to reflect my own experiences in, and responses to, this landscape as part native – part outsider.
All photographs were made between 2013 – 2016, in and around the Mendip Hills in North Somerset where I live and work.