on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Acontius Project

David Fearn

David Fearn

Classicist and photographer now working almost exclusively with film (120, 5x4, 8x10).


These four images represent a series of interconnected new directions in my photography over the last year: a move up (again) to 8x10 and the challenges involved; a move to black and white and alternative processes (cyanotype and argyrotype); dedication to a specific project.

These four images are part of a new project on emotional responses to trees in the (literary/artistic) landscape via forays locally to me in Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, and sometimes elsewhere too.  It is inspired by an interest in evocations of landscape in ancient poetry, and by discoveries of graffiti on trees - both fit via the mythological lover Acontius, a significant figure for ancient pastoral poetics, especially in Virgil.   The idea of writing on trees and connecting with the landscape fits with the idea I have of photography as a quiet dedicated kind of mark-making, something I’ve thought about via e.g. Sally Mann, and, differently, Alys Tomlinson’s Ex Voto project.  I hope to bring this out further and more interventionally through 8x10 and alt-pro.

I’ve only really just begun this new journey but as a quest to make my photography personal to me it is particularly enjoyable and rewarding.

The first three images are on 8x10 (Chamonix 810V with Nikkor super-wide and normal lenses), contact printed on 11x14 Bergger Cot 320 paper.  The final is a scan of a 6x6 negative shot on Hasselblad 500CM at Elleric in Argyll.

Acontius Project: Beech Tree Graffiti, Elleric.

Acontius Project: ‘Bob’, Wayland’s Smithy. Argyrotype.

Acontius Project: Brightwell Barrow, Wittenham Clumps. Argyrotype

Acontius Project: ‘Fraxinus in silvis pulcherrima’, Whichford Wood. Untoned cyanotype.

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