Today I visited the Fox Talbot Museum in Lacock to see the new exhibition by Sophie Gerrard ‘Drawn to the Land’. The project explores the rural Scottish landscape and the women who work on it in agriculture. My family are from Lochgilphead, Ardrishaig and Tarbert in Argyll and Bute, although I wasn’t born there myself I feel a pull to its beautiful landscapes, its history and the preservation of its rural places, so this one kind of tugged on my heart strings a little and I felt a big connection with the work. I have spent many days wandering around the hills, mountains and woodland. I need to plan another visit, I haven’t been for some years now.
The exhibition starts with an introduction to the subject/project and next to it is a very large (huge!) print of the Scottish landscape. I mentioned to my Mentor Jill how I felt I could just walk into the landscape, it seemed life like and gave a real sense of place as an introduction to the project. Wonderful!
I took some shots of the exhibition to record my visit for my studies but of course as usual all credit must go to the artist/photographer Sophie Gerrard.
I liked how the exhibition was laid out and presented, with the first picture being the person/subject then next to it were photographs of the persons belongings, which gave a sense you were peering into their life, photographs of them at work, out in the landscape giving a sense of the environment they work and live in.
My iPhone doesn’t really give this photograph justice (so go along and see the exhibition in person!) but my mentor and I both agreed this photograph was one of our favourites. There is something very special about all that white and open space:
I liked this shot of the the old tools with the painted wood where the tools should go… nothing seems to be where it should be except for the shears all neatly lined up in a row in the bottom of the frame, rustic, textured, layered, tools of the trade.
The exhibition also shows photographs of a diary kept by one of the subjects which gave further depth and understanding to the hardships and lessons learned by the farmer.
I quizzed how the photographs didn’t show family members or partners. It is very isolated on the individual which I am guessing is intentional by the photographer.
I also observed how all of the photographs were in a square format, with the main portrait being larger with the photographs of their belongings generally being smaller. I can only assume this was either intentional by the type of camera used or cropped to a square format afterwards rather than the regular 3:2 ratio.
Finally, this was one of my favourite shots of personal possessions, there is just something intriguing about this old compass, I can imagine a farmer cold shivering out on the land in fog, using the compass to point them true back home to a warm cosy cottage or farmhouse.
Definitely one to go along and visit in person!