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Endframe: Gateway to the Moors II by Joe Cornish

Roger Voller chooses one of his favourite images

Roger Voller

Landscape photographer enthusiast based in Hampshire, England. I enjoy exploring my local areas and taking pictures for the love of it. There is always something around the corner.

rogervoller.com



When asked to choose my End Frame, Gateway to the Moors II rose to the forefront of my mind. Even though the exposure of great landscape pictures on social media and in the recent surge of photography books can be almost overwhelming to digest on a daily basis, I can still somehow remember the moment of engaging with this one in a quiet yet glowing contentment a few years ago. I don't really remember when and where precisely just the conscious engagement.

The reasoning for my selection brought to my attention of how we see and process all this visual stimulation before us. I don't often translate visual processes and emotions into words but it's certainly a practice I like to spend more time on. I remember Charlie Waite quoting once, the mind and eye are a great double act and perform a rapid scanning process before concluding, yes I quite like that.

We take in ingredients such as composition, light, tones, mood, depth, hue, juxtaposing, balance etc. But is there anything else in the process that makes a picture so engaging, what about the other end, the viewer. Each viewer has their own individual way of processing visual input with influences from experiences, memories and the people around us. Together the picture and the viewer are like a silent visual conversation.  



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  • “A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.” ~Albert Camus

    What is most interesting to me is that this gate seems entirely unnecessary, having no fence or other barrier attached to it that would require a point of passage (at least none that is visible here).
    I was actually surprised by how much I like it for that reason alone. I do not like to see fences and gates in the places I work and therefore was never moved to photograph them. But this, a gate without a purpose, made me smile, suggesting a futility of human enterprise—a simple utilitarian barrier with simple geometry designed to serve a function rather than to appeal to the eye, and which fails even in this simple task—juxtaposed against the visual wonders of natural patterns and colors.

    • You’re full of wise words Guy, I can’t say much for the specific area where this photograph was taken but I have noticed that where I live further south along the South Downs and specifically in the chalkland nature reserves, preservation measures have now taken place where temporary fences are built up around permanent gates in the winter time for the sheep or cattle to eat away at the competitive scrubland that would otherwise conquer the now rare chalk grassland habitat (originally, yet ironically created from human intervention through pastoral activity) and then in the summer time the fences are removed (leaving the gates bare) to restore the appearance and allow the grasses, rare wildflowers and wildlife to grow that once covered the majority of the South Downs. And on this note perhaps I am attracted to the forthcoming tension and resilience of nature waiting in the shadows of mankind to quietly conquer back its own territory.

      • A well written and thoughtful piece, Roger. It’s very much a ‘I’d-like-to-be-there’ image.

        Unlike Guy, I appreciate what a gate can offer to a composition, as they often raise questions about man’s interaction with nature – they can create a narrative. Maybe, in our congested country we have to be a little sanguine about the man-made clutter, that Guy can edit out in his more expansive landscapes ;-). As you replied, I too often see a disembodied gate on the Downs, and yes they are used to facilitate access to temporary enclosures.

        Joe’s gate is a good example. The path to the farm is blocked by the shimmering grasses, so we assume it’s not well used, then you can see the path behind the long grasses avoiding the ‘pointless’ gate.

        Enough about the gate … a key feature to me is the portrait arrangement of the frame. You mention the zig-zag following the path then bending round to follow the ridge to the obliging cloud formation. The eye-path disappears off the frame, before emerging at right angles along the top of the tree line. I wonder if this was deliberate or because of restrictions placed on Joe when he composed it ? The discontinuity raises more questions, this time about the path’s route.

        I appreciate questions in artwork. It’s too easy, it seems, to fall into the habit of not allowing myself time to properly look – Endframes help slow us down. A good pick, Roger …

      • A well written and thoughtful piece, Roger. It’s very much a ‘I’d-like-to-be-there’ image.

        Unlike Guy, I appreciate what a gate can offer to a composition, as they often raise questions about man’s interaction with nature – they can create a narrative. Maybe, in our congested country we have to be a little sanguine about the man-made clutter that Guy can edit out in his more expansive landscapes ;-). As you replied, I too often see a disembodied gate on the Downs, and yes they are used to facilitate access to temporary enclosures.

        Joe’s gate is a good example. The path to the farm is blocked by the shimmering grasses, so we assume it’s not well used, then you can see the path behind the long grasses avoiding the ‘pointless’ gate.

        Enough about the gate … a key feature to me is the portrait arrangement of the frame. You mention the zig-zag following the path then bending round to follow the ridge to the obliging cloud formation. The eye-path disappears off the frame, before emerging at right angles along the top of the tree line. I wonder if this was deliberate or because of restrictions placed on Joe when he composed it ? The discontinuity raises more questions, this time about the path’s route.

        I appreciate questions in artwork. It’s too easy, it seems, to fall into the habit of not allowing myself time to properly look – Endframes help slow us down. A good pick, Roger …

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