I have been following Matt`s work for a while and I find that when drunk on the hedonism of sunsets and misty dawns which take its toll on me as I burn the candle at both ends. Its during these broken hours when I am looking for an after party come down and slower contemplative chill out that I turn to Matt.
” I HATE PLANTATIONS “
I am not alone in this they are the plague that has smothered the life from many of the valleys of the Brecon Beacons. I share it with Lolo Williams as stated in his powerful ” State of Nature” speech
I have spent a lot of time in the plantations hiding from a storm or searching for a fox den or badger set but never have I felt the need or desire to capture any images from within the sterile gloom. So imagine my disbelief and concern as I followed Matt go deeper and deeper into this almost subterranean world. I would very often taunt and caution him via twitter to be careful of the soul sapping forces that find sanctuary in the never-ending straight lines.
So when this body of work came to it conclusion and Matt announced that it was going to be his first book I waited at my taptop with sweaty palms and paypal password at the ready to bag my self a copy and a copy that is a single figure number at that.
The book arrived in good time and being I would say A5 size meant that I could pop it into my bag and venture into my local patch of plantation before opening it safely fearing that the dark spirits once freed from the pages of the book would be come locked in the forest and not roam freely across the open moorland.
Mono images, I find the medium of mono or Black & White the most difficult medium to work in I have dipped my toe from time to time but quickly retracted it. I do know that Matt went to great trouble on insisting the printers got the BLAK`s BLACK during the printing process and the solidity of the colour is important in the composition of the images with light being very much what is craved for and celebrated on the journey from the margins to the depths of sterile decay and claustrophobia.
Has this book soothed my hatred of the Plantations. Will the journey into the dark soul of the “Place of lines” compel me to step into the interior to hunt out the light the shadow and texture captured so bravely by this photographer.
But the next time I drive past or shelter in the margins from a storm I will look deep along the endless line wondering if somewhere deep inside there is a shaft of light gracing a cairn or the signs of a brave deciduous tree fighting for dominance over the Plantation.
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