A land that touches the sky

Moel Llyfnant [750 meters] Snowdonia National Park, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015


Forest Clearing, Capel Seion, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015


Llanberis Pass, Snowdonia National Park, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015


Aran Fawddwy [906 meters] Snowdonia National Park, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015

Towards the end of September I thought I would travel to Snowdonia National Part in North Wales to look at the area as a possible photography project. I discovered a land of incredible beauty, sheep, stream trains, sheep, mountains, sheep, forests, sheep and scary single track roads. The weather was very changeable and being so high often one was in the actual clouds, it was magical. The place was so visually stunning I struggled to photograph it, each time I looked at something I could not figure how I could add more to the subject as the experience of seeing and being there at a given moment was so rich that I felt a photograph would only produce a second rate facsimile of the place. A couple of weeks on reviewing the photographs I am still not sure about the place as a suitable photography location to work in but nevertheless I decided to show some snap shots from my travels, the photographs shot on film will follow at a later date when I have had a chance to develop it.


Happy Valley : Farm House, Cwm Maethlon, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015


Happy Valley : Farm House, Cwm Maethlon, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015


Happy Valley : Farm House, Cwm Maethlon, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015

Whilst travelling along the single track roads that criss-cross the Snowdonia National Park the only time when a location or subject might had worked for me photographically was when it was either obscured or abstracted, it seemed I was in denial of the actuality of the place when looking through a camera.


Y Garn [947 meters] Snowdonia National Park, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015


Glider Fawr [1001 meters] Snowdonia National Park, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015


Snowdon [1085 meters Snowdonia National Park, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015


During my weeks stay in the Snowdonia National Park I decided to visit Snowdon itself the highest mountain in the area, most of the time I was seeking something off the beaten track where few people would venture. The first thing I noticed approaching Snowdon was the increase of traffic, people and the general tackiness of modern day tourism, most of the Snowdonia National Park had up until this point had been relevantly normal with folk going about their every day business but with big mountains in the background. Within the actual Snowdon area you would see people jump out of their cars and take selfies of themselves with the mountains as a backdrop and then proceed to look at their smart phones reviewing the photographs they has just taken, the actual act of just looking at the landscape seemed less interesting to them as they collected their scenic trophies. I found the whole thing bizarre and theses people were not teenagers but mainly retired couples. So here I was unable to take a photograph of the landscape as I thought its inherent visual intensity and the experience of being there could not be captured using a camera and at the same time next to me I saw people who could only experience the landscape through looking at a photograph of it on their smart phone, I must say I found it strange and surreal.


Llanberis Pass, Snowdonia National Park, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015


Llanberis Pass, Snowdonia National Park, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015

There were parts of the area which I might returned to in the future and this where certain industries from farming, forestry and mining were active, perhaps areas outside the national park would be more rewarding for the type of photographs I make and the narratives I wish to nurture from the landscape.


Logging, Capel Seion, Snowdonia National Park, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015


Logging near Cefn-Cynhafal, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015

The last image of this post intrigues me, It was taken on one of the few days when the sky was neutral and one of two times I used my 8x10 large format camera. The reason this image or subject intrigues me is there is no obvious drama, just a view of a once large mountain that is slowing eroding away. I think this image works for me because there is no sentiment and this is not just because it is black and white, there is an starkness in the imagery, the landscape feels exposed, raw and dislocated. I will be interested to see the 8x10 black and white negative version later this month of this scene but this current image made up of 24 digital photographs is yielding some interesting ideas.


Craig yr Aderyn [Bird's Rock] Dysynni Valley, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015