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Ann Holmes - Farm Project

Ann Holmes

Ann Holmes

A dedicated photographer and GP working in the Calder Valley area.



Can you tell us a little about yourself, how you got into photography and how much of a role it plays in your life now.

I started painting and drawing at a young age and won quite a lot of competitions sketching the scenes around me. I didn’t have access to a camera at the time, and although Mum had a Box Brownie, the film was no longer available. A Vivitar point and shoot appeared in my stocking when I was 10 but disappointment followed... I saw these fantastic vistas, popped the shutter and the result just never looked as I'd envisaged.

When I discovered the documentary work of National Geographic photographers like William Allard in my teens, I was really struck with the human component, the spontaneity and dramatism captured in their work – I’m thinking particularly of an image by Allard of a tearful goatherd in Peru - a van I think - had gone around the corner and hit his goats - a very powerful portrait... and when it was published, it generated such emotion that Nat Geo buyers donated to buy the young lad a new herd and contributed to his local community resources... so the power of the photographic image for the good was really there. I could never have sketched quickly enough to capture such a scene. A proper camera was the way to go!

Far Nook

Far Nook, 14 acres, Amy & Ernest Stansfield, 1960. Previously jointly tenanted by the Collins, Crabtree & Wadsworth families who worked in the local fustian industry

Featured Coments from:

Chris Pattison: This is a great project and reflects my own wanderings amongst abandoned farms of the North Pennines. You are doing something that may well have historical and archaeological importance many years from now.

Ann Holmes: Many thanks Chris. I’m aware the pace of decay is such that when I revisit, the building will have have received further fashioning from either the elements or thieves/”recycling”. A beautiful hearthstone had been removed quite surgically from one place recently- a substantial piece of stone that would have required specialist equipment to remove and translocate. It also makes one question some of the absurdity in planning regs that consign these buildings to becoming crumbling stone piles rather than permitting restoration and reutilisation.



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