When I was doing my MA in photography I spoke about the Lake District. My tutor said, correctly, every photographer in the North West is going there. He saw it as pointless. Look in the magazines and the books and you find almost every shot has already been taken. That view of Great Gable from Wastwater. A thousand times. The jetty at Derwentwater. Two thousand times. Reflections in the water at Buttermere, Striding Edge, Swirral Edge, the Scafells. It’s true that good light and striking weather – orange autumn or sparkling snow for example – make for a distinctive shot. It will not however be a wholly original shot.
The same applies at Snowdonia but not so clearly. That’s partly because it’s a less photogenic area which means it’s less photographed. Partly too, because you can find relatively unexplored places and thus more original pictures. It’s an interesting topic. For many years now I’ve been pondering the aesthetic difference between Wales and the Lake District, and the experiential difference. I went to the Lakes last year in one of the best areas, Wasdale, and it felt rather flat. I’d been there so many times, over so many years, I was beginning to lose interest. I went to Snowdonia shortly after, and decided that’s where I’d go for the near future: where it’s quieter, wilder, less touristy, less attractive, but paradoxically more pleasurable. Scotland is both wild and beautiful but too far away for regular walking and too full of midges in summer.
I’m now pondering the photographic difference between Snowdonia and the Lakes. Not so much the aesthetics, which I’ve been aware of for years, but the practice and the body of work you produce. I have hundreds of good photographs from both areas which are a potential book. The cumulative effect of each is different. My Snowdonia catalogue is more about photography as such, in the sense that you work with a different potential and have to work harder.
I stayed here about thirty minutes, watching the light and then eating some lunch. The picture always comes first. I reached for food only when I’d got a few shots, and when I was attuned to what was happening here photographically and could thereby relax. I quite like this shot.
Snowdonia Photography: Pool to Pen Yr Ole Wen
Monday July 27, 2015