The Path

The Path, Ben Dolman 2014 [Digital Test Shoot]

Subtle marks, traces, the seemly nondescript and the unnoticed in the landscape has always caught my eye but due to the subtlety of the scene they can be difficult to photograph through either a lack of structure in the composition or a contrast between form and light and the resulting photograph can lack definition, seem dull and indifferent. In these photographs I have tried to capture a path in an abandoned and overgrown meadow, the path is slight as there is little human traffic in the landscape due to its difficult access and may have been made by animals.

The Path, Ben Dolman 2014 [4x5 Colour Negative]

The large format photographs above and below were taken at the height of summer, a season that I find problematical to work in as subtle forms are easily lost in the abundance of nature and luminosity of the light but I thought I would have a go at trying to pull something photographically from the scene. After developing the film I thought the images were nearly there especially the 8x10 black & white negative but there was still something amiss about the photographs. I put the work to side and classed it as just technical experiments as I thought the images in themselves were not strong enough as they did not convey how I had experienced the landscape, the place and the path through the meadow.

The Path, Ben Dolman 2014 [8x10 Black & White Negative]

Towards the end of summer I decided to revisit the meadow and see if there was another way I could photograph the path and capture the feel of the place and this time I decided to use my digital camera rather than my large format film cameras which tend to lend themselves to a more static and singular view point. With digital camera I could be more playful and experimental working from a new perspective of the place, instead of the tableau a sequence of images was sought.

Coming back to the meadow towards the end of summer allowed for a kinder light and the vividness of the greenery was more subdued which in turn gave more structure to the landscape and the subtle traces in the landscape could be reveal more.

This time rather than trying to capture the path in a singular photograph I decided to take a sequence of photographs that follow the path to its end and this seemed to work better for me. In each subsequent photograph in the sequence there is less and less sky and the foreground becomes more dominate until we disappear into a dense cluster of trees and brushes.

I am still not sure about the imagery from this location and how it works photographically but it was an interesting exercise in seeing how different approaches to image making can convey a sense of a place, sometimes a singular tableau will do but on other occasions a sequence of images will reveal and convey more.

The Path I, Ben Dolman 2014 [Digital]

The Path II, Ben Dolman 2014 [Digital]

The Path III, Ben Dolman 2014 [Digital]

The Path IV, Ben Dolman 2014 [Digital]

The Path V, Ben Dolman 2014 [Digital]