Joseph Wright | Purton, UK

Short bio:
I am a photographer, published author and maker of photography books based in a semi-rural area of southern England.

Why do you photograph on film?
I use film primarily for its physical attributes. Firstly, for me, it’s tonality is unmatched in rendering the subject I photograph – the land. Whilst man-made the aesthetic qualities of film are almost as organic as the characteristics of the nature of land. Also, I believe photographs are best viewed in printed form – as physical objects – either as prints or in book form. This comes from a want to expand on just the visual engagement of myself and the viewer to also include further sensory stimulation. The logical extension of this is to use a tangible media in the image making process – analogue film. Thereby passing the physicality of the landscape through myself and the film – to the viewing of the photograph and, handling of the print and book by you the viewer. It will be as if you and we will have physically connected. It is a personal ethos that is as rooted in my creative process as is the connection to the land itself…

What is your work about?
Using the mediums of photography and books I reveal stories of the land and how we inhabit it, developed through a long relationship and deep affinity with the countryside and edgelands. My work is instinctive in response to place and event. It is frequently rooted in history, toponymy and topography. Endeavouring to unwind time and peel back the layers of culture and memory creating work to move beyond the simple aesthetic to reveal a deeper understanding of my subjects. The images submitted form part of an ongoing series of work entitled ‘The lost forest’. A project that allows me to study what forms permanence and boundary in the landscape. ‘The Lost Forest’: In 1215 AD King John of England was compelled to agree, by one of the articles of Magna Carta, to the disafforesting of all the great tracts of country which had been made ‘royal’ forest during his own reign. Latterly after John’s death special perambulations, the creation of legal forest boundary records, were ordered to be made by twelve knights elected for the purpose. I use those historical 13th century records to re-trace and re-assert the ancient boundary of what was once one of the largest of these royal forests, Bradon Forest; where I live today. A boundary once defined so permanent in ancient forest law as “forests must be mered and bounded with unremovable marks… as if they were enclosed by a wall”. This is a modern perambulation of a forest that no longer exists…