Impermanence

Llanberis Pass, Snowdon, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015, 4x5 Black & White Negative [210mm]

It has been three weeks since my return from Snowdonia in North Wales and I have had the time now to reflect properly on my journey and develop some large format the black and white photographs to get a better understanding of my experience of the place. After developing the b&w film and studying the images in great detail the subject now seems to revealed a sense of impermanence to me. At first it may seem strange to view these massive and formidable rock formations that make up the mountains of Wales as something as impermanent, a word that is usually used to describe the temporary, fleeting or passing but I am becoming to see this landscape as transient not unlike the Holderness coastline that is fast eroding into the North Sea. The time scale of the erosion may be different but the impact of water erosion on the landscape is just as vivid.


Llanberis Pass, Snowdon, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015, 4x5 Black & White Negative [300mm]

The impermanence of the landscape is just not figured in the weathering of the rock by water but also in the geographical changes in the landscape, changes that happen over thousands of years. The next series of photographs are of Bird's Rock which is an english translation from the original name of the place Craig yr Aderyn. This crag or rock outcrop was once a sea cliff and the valley in which it defines was once filled with the Irish Sea and the waves of the sea once lapped it's lower slopes. The sea has since retreated about 5 miles leaving the rock cliff high and dry rising from a flat valley floor. The old cliff face still receives sea birds who nest there every year though, the place has been made famous for it's nesting cormorants, the only cormorants to nest so far inland in the United Kingdom. It is a place where inborn memory and history can sometimes override the actuality of the place, the passage of time offers two vistas at the same time, past and present, one of the sea and one of the land.

The final thing that has got me thinking reviewing these images is time, a timescale beyond the fleeting moment normally associated with photography or that of our own and collective memories tied to human history but that of our planet. When I looked at the photographic digital images of Snowdonia for the first time I did not see the greater passage of time or the impermanence of the place, I only saw the grandeur and the spectacle which was heightened by wild weather passing through the region at the time I visited. The few large format photographs I took on the journey through Snowdonia were made when the weather was relevantly benign there was no visual climatic drama and instead just a gentle overcast sky which it seems allowed the rocks and the landscape to speak more clearly and deeply to me.


Bird's Rock [Craig yr Aderyn] Dysynni Valley, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015, 8x10 Black & White Negative [240mm]

Bird's Rock [Craig yr Aderyn] Dysynni Valley, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015, 8x10 Black & White Negative [311mm]

Bird's Rock [Craig yr Aderyn] Dysynni Valley, Wales - Ben Dolman 2015, 4x5 Black & White Negative -  Lateral Shift Stitch [180mm]