being-there

Being There

About this Project

We are drawn to places, often never really knowing why. Yet, on careful analysis and sometimes after repeatedly visiting certain locations, there is a sense of coalescence, when elements come together and some level of understanding is given to why it is we find ourselves in one place rather than any other. It is, after all, a choice.

I was drawn to Stonehenge at an early age, whilst on a family holiday. It was before the days of ropes, precluding real access and holding you at a distance. You could wander freely between the stones, touch, lean on them, feel them both literally and spiritually. I felt something there I had never experienced before.

I have visited and photographed many ancient monuments since that first encounter and that sense of place and dislocation of time, coupled with a real tangible energy force is always present.

They answer to a period when, as a species, we had a far greater and much deeper understanding of the natural processes that shaped the land. Born of necessity, this understanding was intrinsically linked to survival.

The standing stones, cromlechs, burial chambers, circles and mounds are often, though not always, in vast landscapes; dramatic spaces that give a glimpse of the elemental forces that today, in a modern world, are far less accessible, comprehensible and to many less desirable. We no longer need to understand or respond to these forces, yet it is possible still, in such places to get a sense of what we have lost.

I’ll continue with this work as long as I’m physically able. These places inspire and enrich my understanding of light and land. They renew my relationship with the elements that I love and also confirm the reassuring fact that there will always remain questions that we will never be able to answer, however advanced we may become.

Project Timeline

1970

Visit Stonehenge age 12 with my family - has a deep effect on me. Begin reading around the subject. Read ‘Secrets of Stonehenge’, Gerald Hawkins - Pub. 1965.

1976

Visit Castle Rig, Cumbria in winter - experience same sense of energy as at Stonehenge. Read ‘The Old Straight Track’, Alfred Watkins - Pub. 1925.

1979

Spend time with my brother at Loch Awe, Scotland - photograph standing stones for the first time as a fledgling photographer just prior to starting my degree.

1985

Move to Wales as photographer for the Welsh Folk Museum - begin the project in earnest seeking out ancient monuments and castles.

1987

Inspired by the black and white images by Michael Hales in ‘Secret Landscapes’ Pub. 1980.

1990

Take the kids with me to ancient sites - remember having to wait for light and the car horn beeping from impatient kids wanting to move on.

1992

Read and start collecting books on ancient monuments. Influenced by the photographs of Mick Sharp in ‘A Land of Gods and Giants’ Pub. 1989.

1995

Regularly take photography students on a tour of ancient monuments in the Brecons and Pembrokeshire. Begin to Document Maen Llia in all weathers - experience wild thunderstorm whilst at Maen Llia.

1997

Read ‘Earth Mysteries’ Philip Heselton - Pub.1991 - relate to much within the book.

1998

Visit sites in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

2000

Start the new millennium at 6.30am 1st. January photographing standing stones in the Conwy Valley - stunning crisp weather and an air of the past meeting the present. Take family to Oban and spend time around the Kilmartin group of stones and rock carvings.

2001

Visit Islay and Photograph its ancient monuments. Photograph Kilnave Chapel at night with torch light.

2002

Photograph standing stones and other ancient monuments on the mainland of Scotland and Mull. My brother Phil photographs the bird life whilst I concentrate on the pre historic sites. Takes us to some wild landscapes.

2003

Visit the Callanish group on the west coast of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides - still able to walk through and touch all the stones, no ropes or barriers here - pulsating weather saw us have the stones to ourselves. Incredible sense of awe, mystery and energy - wild landscape.

2004

Spent a few nights photographing Pentre Ifan, Pembrokeshire by moonlight - deep sense of the spiritual.

2008

Continue to work on the project throughout Wales visiting sites in many of the old thirteen counties.

2010

Visit  ancient sites across South wales working on close up sufaces of the stones, letting them become their own physical landscapes within the stones.

2012

Begin exploring specific sites with a view to working on soundscapes at a later date, thus getting closer to a more holistic sense of the experience of being around stones.