Healing The Wounds

Posted by on Oct 5, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

Forty years ago a group of geophysicists were searching for oil in the Gulf of Mexico when they discovered the huge Chicxulub crater, now widely accepted to be that of an extinction event meteor strike that ended the Cretaceous period and wiped out the dinosaurs. This crater, some 110 miles wide and 12 miles deep had been completely hidden from us until we were able to survey the planet’s surface from space. Millions of years of geological activity and the constant changing environment created as techtonic plates slid around the planet moving the surface to different climatic regions have hidden much of Earth’s scarred crust. In reality it will have suffered much like the Moon and will be covered in craters.

Humankind has been inflicting scarring on the Earth’s surface too ever since it first learned how to use tools. Given the relatively short time we have been here much of what he have done is still visible but recently I watched a program about Angkor Wat in Cambodia which revealed it to be once a massive city now mostly buried beneath thich jungle. This got me thinking more about some of my favourite places to photograph; Easdale and Seil in Argyll, Kinlochleven and Ballachulish on the border with Lochaber and Llanberis in North Wales all of which were hives of industrial activity until just a few short decades ago. The Ironbridge Gorge, where my new gallery is based is now mostly buried beneath thick, lush, native woodland but the photographs of it at it’s peak of activity show a landscape full of smoke stacks and factory buildings.

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What draws me to locations that were once scoured by industry? I believe it’s the sense of hope I get from seeing nature reclaim what Man so violently tears apart in our rush for progress. To see Moss, Lichen, Fern,  Heather, Juniper, Birch, Alder and Rowan reclaiming the shattered hillside in North Wales or the wide valley between the Aonach Eagach and the Mamores filled to the brim with frothy Autumn foliage gives me hope that, no matter what we do, the planet can recover. After all, it did recover from what would have been the most destructive event 66 million years ago and countless collosal explosive volcanic eruptions since that time many of which effected the climate for years after. While Dinorwic Quarry still looks like a giant staircase up a mountain from a distance, closer inspection reveals the extent to which nature is forging it’s return

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During the eight years that I lived in Scotland I discovered many hidden ruins among the trees and on the shores. Buildings whose metalwork was being chewed away by salt laden winds, whose fallen bricks were being rounded into rough, red pebbles and whose woodwork was turned to sawdust by time leaving just a hint that someone once lived and worked there. Now that I’m regularly visiting the quarries of North Wales I’m pleased to report that I can see year on year the change occurring. Buildings a getting more shabby and the flaura (and fauna) a becoming more and more established, gradually coming to a state of equilibrium before nature tips the balance and starts to make these man made environments disappear. I know that this won’t happen in my lifetime but I shall be happy to record what happens for hopefully the next two or three decades.









I shall be back in the quarries soon with the onset of Autumn colour. If any of you would like to join me there are just a couple of places left on my Welsh Slate Workshop that runs for three days starting on Wednesday the 12th of November. It would be fantastic to capture some time and nature in action with you there. Full details are available on the workshops page of this website. I hope you can join me.

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  1. Hi I understand that you do a Sunday morning walk with a camera, I would be interested on joining you on March 15th if this is possible.
    Yours Bob Morse

    • Hello Bob. Apologies for not getting back. Most comments on my site are unfortunately spam. Next Sunday camera walk is on 24th May. Then 21st June then 19th of July. please check my contact page and use the email there if you are still interested

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