Exercise 4.3 – A Subjective Voice

The exercise asks that we reflect on any current and previous circumstances and experiences that we have had which may influence or have influenced our view on the landscape. Once these have been considered, any factors which act as an influence when researching and photographing the landscape should be noted in the learning log.

One political issue which has always been at the concern in relation to the landscape, is who owns what? Even with the Land Reform Act (Scotland) of 2003, there are still times when trying to gain Statutory Access Rights has been difficult due to obstructions both legal and illegal created by landowners.

Recently the Guardian ran an article regarding land ownership in England where it was found that 1% of the population owned almost 50% of the land. This is something I feel is socially unfair, especially where I now live where one man owns all the Scottish land south of the river Ettrick all the way to the border.

Very much like Ingrid Pollard, I am interested in the politics of the landscape, who can use it, who cares for it, who owns it and who profits from it. Even the politics of access is of interest to me, as old abandoned buildings are subsumed into people’s gardens and access to these pieces of history is cut off.

Growing up, I could only see the open landscape on three sides of the village, the fourth side was open water, the wide expanse of the river Forth, between myself and the Kingdom of Fife. Now I am becoming concerned with the expansion into the greenbelt by developers, where there was once fields and fields of corn, potatoes or sprouts there are now ever-growing housing developments. A walled-in set of fields where I was once employed to pick vegetables, is now all houses, crowded within the very same walls.

These environmental concerns again tie in as a factor and influence when I am researching and photographing. I see it as a race to capture and document what is disappearing socially, historically and environmentally.

This was partially reinforced by the images from the Robert Blomfield when I recently visited the exhibition of his work at the Edinburgh City Art Centre. Blomfield captured Edinburgh through the 1950s, 60s and 70s, an Edinburgh which has now almost already disappeared as the City’s narrative changes.

These are just some of the themes around the landscape which I am exploring, amongst others are; access for people with disabilities, social change driving up house prices and driving out the poor, loss of the historical landscape through gentrification.

It is important that I keep these factors in mind when working to ensure that I do not end up with mixed messages.

References

ScotWays – ScotWays. 2019. ScotWays – ScotWays. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.scotways.com/. [Accessed 23 April 2019].

HeraldScotland. 2019. Do we really have the right to roam? | HeraldScotland. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/12779241.do-we-really-have-the-right-to-roam/. [Accessed 23 April 2019].

The Guardian. 2019. Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population | Money | The Guardian. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/apr/17/who-owns-england-thousand-secret-landowners-author. [Accessed 23 April 2019].

Museums and Galleries Edinburgh. 2019. Robert Blomfield: Edinburgh Street Photography | Museums and Galleries Edinburgh. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/whats-on/robert-blomfield-edinburgh-street-photography. [Accessed 23 April 2019].

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