The images in this series were taken in the Salix Woodland in Gunpowder Park, part of the Lee Valley Regional Park, and is the same location where I took many of the pictures of tree bark, lichens and mosses.  I wanted to take images that moved away from a conventional woodland setting to a more abstract form, whilst at the same time retaining qualities that were inherent in the scene.  The technique I used was to set a slow shutter speed and moved the camera vertically during exposure.  This had the effect of simplifying the image by smoothing out specific detail, leaving only the basic components of light, colour and form allowing a more open interpretation.

The titles of the Woodland images  come from phrases in the great poem by T.S.Eliot the ‘Four Quartets and are taken from part I of Burnt Norton.  I have for many years drawn inspiration from this great poem and the decision to use these images came when I had almost finished the series.  The last image I processed was the one that I have titled ‘Into our first world’, which is the most minimal of them all.  It wasn’t obvious in raw format but as I processed the image I darkened it to lay emphasis on the shafts of light entering the picture in the top left and I thought of the phrase from the poem.  The picture revealed to me its own identity.  I then laid out the rest of the images and read the poem and it was extraordinary how the process of repeated itself with each image finding its own phrase as if by natural selection.  I have lived with the titles for several months now and I am confident that the bond between the words and the image was a genuine one and not a convenient method of naming the image.

I think the ‘Four Quartets’ have a strong abstract quality to them injected with elements of literature, symbolism, history and simple observation.  These pictures also have strong abstract feel to them and although they are devoid of the detail they are intended to still retain a sense of time and place.  By using the phrases from the poem in isolation as titles for these pictures, they lose their context within the poem, but I hope gain a new symbiotic meaning with the image.[clear]


Footfalls echo in the memory

Down the passage which we did not take

Towards the door we never opened

Into the Rose-garden, My words echo

Thus, in your mind. But to what purpose

Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose leaves

I do not know. Other echoes

Inhabit the garden.  Shall we follow?

Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,

Round the corner.  Through our first gate,

Into our first world, shall we follow

The deception of the thrush?  Into our first world.

There they were, dignified, invisible,