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Nights, Lights, Love, Lyrics photobook

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Night, Lights, Love, Lyrics

From an early age, the sandy trails at Merthyr Mawr warren in South Wales have been my playground. Sunset walks with my father, spotting rabbits as they dashed into the brambles. Adventures with friends, making fires and building dens. Pellet gun wars, hiding in the disused rifle ranges. Beach parties, drinking MD 20/20 and collecting glow worms in jars. Mountain biking on the singed soil, after a summer blaze burned the bracken to cinders. The dunes have always been with me…

The work collected here centres around this unique ecosystem. This collection of images is a love letter. A love letter to not stopping. A love letter to running. A love letter to my favourite place. A love letter to music. A love letter to light. A love letter to technology. A love letter about love. It is an iPhone project that explores a sense of freedom and it is a complete departure from my usual photographic practice. I utilise a large format camera for a lot of my work, and I almost always have an SLR of some variety in my hand. This is the first project I have created that fits in around other passions – music and running. Normally, as the year draws to a close, the nights draw in and the weather turns colder, I stop running. I tend to run after work, off road, in my favourite environment – Newton and Merthyr Mawr dunes. Off road running, at night, in an environment that has no artificial light wasn’t a prospect that appealed, so I would always put running on hold until the evening light returned in March. But in 2019 that changed; I decided I would not stop. So one evening, after work, on a night filled with moonlight, I grabbed my phone, a torch, my headphones, the dog, and we ran.

And it was terrifying. Wonderfully, exhilaratingly terrifying. A lack of light, uneven terrain, noises from the woods, the moon shining through the trees… I ran like the wind. When I got back home I felt amazing. It was the best run I had been on for a long time. So I went again, the very next night. And again, the moon ran alongside me, and helped light my path. And it was then that I realised I had a camera in my pocket; my iPhone. So I aimed it at the moon through the trees and I fell in love. Darkness, torches, photography and music. Nights, lights, love, lyrics. An idea formed.

The following night I ran again, this time with a headtorch as well as my hand torch. I decided to illuminate the trees that scatter the sandy landscape. They proved to be the perfect subject matter, as trees are truly majestic, beautiful lifeforms, that give so much; oxygen, respiration, irrigation, structure (both above and below the soil into which their deep roots delve).

And I ran, and I photographed, and I listened, and I loved. That single hour per day became my release and my wellbeing. I decided that I would make a note of the lyrics that were playing at the time of image making, and they have become an accompanying narrative alongside the imagery; a narrative that mimics the thoughts that flowed through my mind as I ran. The way we interact with a landscape is not a simple thing. Complex in many ways, the natural environment gives us a wealth of benefits. Exercise, visual stimulus, ideas, fresh breath, a clear mind. It is the inspiration of artists, and the escape to solace. The natural world is a wholly vital entity, that enhances our own physical and mental wellbeing. This understanding is a centre point in this work, as I attempt to imbue the landscape with a palpable atmosphere by isolating these incredible natural structures, these leviathans of the landscape.

This work has educated me…

…in new music, in not stopping, in thought…

…in love.

Book Spec:

210mm  x 297mm

Hardback matt laminate

Case bound

200gsm uncoated paper

108 pages

Using Format