A Changed Land
When the Nottinghamshire Coalfield in central England reached highest production output there were 30 collieries in operation. Coal production at Gedling Colliery began in 1902 and continued until 1991. Over 70 million tons of coal was mined and at its most productive in 1924 there were more than 3884 men working there. 130 miners died on site.
Photographing over a five year period Jim Denham and I walked the whole site and in all weather: from bleached-blinding hot summer days to painful-cold blue winter. We continually photographed using both digital and analogue.
Our images are a reaction to and a record of the joining point between the death of industrial coal extraction and the conversion of the landscape to controlled recreation and leisure. We feel lucky to have been in the right place at the right time and to have witnessed a short pause in a changing land.
— Paul Harrison & Jim Denham, Nottingham, England
Working over a twelve-month period in Nottinghamshire, England, we have used high-resolution digital and traditional pinhole photography to explore areas at the interface between natural and synthetic landscape.
The edgelands are a kind of wasteland considered unusable, overlooked, undefined and unattractive. These are neglected, often forgotten areas.
Edgelands, the project, starts to explore what landscape means to us. Land is more than physical landscape and environment. It is unique and has symbolic importance. It has value — perhaps a meaning as significant as its physical embodiment. British landscape and its predominantly manufactured presence affects us physically and emotionally and stimulates us intellectually, even spiritually. Edgelands are landscapes that are connected to human activity both historical and contemporary; tracts of land at the crossing point of the rural and urban.
The underlying theme of the work comes from its engagement with basic human issues of our place in the landscape — how and where we belong.
— Nick Dunmur & Paul Harrison, Nottingham, United Kingdom