I’m sure most of us think our own lives are typical when we are young. I did. Indeed it is only as I got older that I became increasingly aware of social and economic differences and thought about their causes whereas in childhood I just accepted them.
This photo is of the entrance to the local dump.
It’s located at one end of my parent’s house and my childhood home and bears the official name of Churchfield’s Road Reuse and Recycling Centre. At that time the fact that I lived in a Council house just along from the dump, the sewage farm and the cemetery didn’t evoke any connotations for me. In fact I had a rather wonderful childhood.
So now when I go to mum and dad’s for lunch and drive down the roads I used to play in I see the area less as it is and more though historical eyes that notice all the changes – corner shops now gone and turned into houses, small engineering firms knocked down and replaced with housing, decommissioned churches sold off as flats, the sewage works turned into a “country park” and the dump…. well its still a dump but even it has been rebranded.
In a way this image shares John Davies’ approach to landscapes (link). Of course there are stylistic significant differences: he uses a 3:2 ratio whereas this is 4:3, he usually uses monochrome whereas this is colour, he often from a high vantage point whereas I shoot low. Yet for all these grammatical differences in our visual discourse our images offer narratives and time, place and change with regard to the built environment rather than produce images offering some evocation of an imagined idyllic past and so in that sense have a lot in common.
Even though as an adult I now know this area is not typical, average or idyllic I still have a lot of affection for it.