Time, gravity and the English landscape: The Orchard, a photographic work positioning the human subject within the orchards of Devon.
(University of Plymouth)
Paper short abstract:
This paper will discuss my recent photographic work, The Orchard, which explores the nature of being, time, gravity and representation in relation to the apple orchards of Devon.
Paper long abstract:
Devon was once the cider capital of England and every farm had its traditional orchard, but in the last century it is estimated that five-sixths of Devon's orchards have been grubbed up and lost forever. A renewed interest in this disappearing heritage in recent years has led to the protection and re-generation of a number of old orchards and the creation of new ones. Orchards contain a richness of culture and nature, with multiple layers of historical meaning and biodiversity. They are economically, ecologically and culturally important places, but they are also places of peace and tranquility and magical places to spend time in. This paper will examine my recent photographic work, The Orchard, which explores the apple orchards of Devon; from ancient fruit trees to farm-based orchards, to commercial concerns, through images and text. The work explores the nature of being, the passing of time and the effects of gravity in relation to a sense of place, and also explores the representation of the English landscape. It draws on philosophical, literary, visual and scientific texts and images as well as on empirical observation in an attempt to understand our human connection and dependence on these places of sanctuary, sustenance and symbolic association. The work seeks to create an empathy and interconnection between the human subject and the orchard as place, so enabling us to re-position ourselves subjectively within the space of nature rather than distancing and objectifying ourselves.
"By leaves we live": the vital politics and poetics of the tree