Going east from the sun-drenched lowlands of Chorley where I reside, the landscape starts to quickly get hilly, and within the many valleys of the West Pennine Moors are numerous former mill towns. Haslingden is one although there aren’t many mills left here. Albert Mill and its characteristic north light windows are almost a landscape in their own right, while Winfields old mill sits astride the A56 bypass, on the edge of the moorland.
Of course, this doesn’t depict the actual scene that was in front of my eyes. Yes, the physical landscape and structures were as you see them, and the sky was transitioning from rain and fog through to sun which made for some dramatic light, but what you see in the above scene is my interpretation of the scene. In this interview, Michael Kenna he says:
“I prefer the power of suggestion over description. Photography, for me, is not about copying the world. I’m not really interested in making an accurate copy of what I see out there. I think one of photography’s strongest elements is its ability to record a part of the world, but also to integrate with the individual photographer’s aesthetic sense. The combined result is an interpretation – and the interpretation, I think, is what is interesting – when the subject goes through the filter of an individual human mind and emerges in a changed state – not the duplication or the recording of something.”
This is one of the joys of black and white photography, the stripping away of colour and choosing where you put the tonality to tell your own story.
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