For the past three years I’ve been documenting the reopening of a small sandstone quarry in Derbyshire, UK and on the edge of the Peak District National Park. The stone, known as Ashover Grit, is being used for conservation work on the nearby stately home, Chatsworth House. The quarry was last opened in the early 1900s and it is thought to be the source of much of the original stone used to construct Chatsworth House from 1687 onwards. The project to extract the stone is due to last until 2028 using low-impact, non-explosive quarrying techniques.
I’m using a variety of photographic equipment and formats, supplemented with sound, video and written evidence, to document the re-opening of the quarry until completion. I aim to self-publish a series of booklets throughout the project and exhibit a final sequence of work once the project is complete, subject to funding.
This selection of black & white film images are from January 2016.
— Steve Cordingley, Derbyshire, England
Growing up in Los Angeles 50 years ago left impressions on me that have lasted a lifetime. My current series of work draws on early experiences and tries to elaborate and refine them in a way that draws on the strengths of photography.
Many years ago I used a large format camera and learned with Ansel at my side (his books) and became very much in tune with the careful, contemplative approach the equipment and medium required. I have to admit I had qualities that resonated with the large format camera and they became more distinctive and refined over time. After 30 years away from the camera I have resumed working with renewed passion.
I hope you get a sense of what excites and is important to me through my work. Generally I seem to be attracted to complex things and the challenge of finding the right degree of order within the frame.
— Steve McCausland, Long Beach, California, USA
Connected is part of a larger project that seeks to examine our current detachment from the rural landscape and the industrialisation of food production. It also touches upon our visual disruption of the land and our perception of the rural environment and its conservation.
The area photographed has been the subject of planning for some 10,000 homes since 1998. I have no doubt that due to the housing crisis in the UK these homes will be constructed, and only recently the leader of the opposition referred to this parcel of land directly and confirmed his commitment to construction.
The temporal nature of this area is what initially inspired the work, but as it progressed three different themes emerged. The photographs presented explore the concept of being connected, both in metaphor and actuality. The profusion of overhead power lines and other structures evident in these images, at first appeared an eyesore. As I contemplated my surroundings, I became aware that their presence provided an unexpected form of visual continuity.
— Steve Meyler, Stevenage, United Kingdom
Beauty can lurk in strange places, and I find myself drawn to landscapes which suggest ambiguity, emptiness, and the spiritually untidy. On the edges of the developed West, I seek backdrops to stories and dreams — vague suggestions of the earth as a temporary gesture. They are as close to nowhere as I can get.
— Steve Davis, Olympia, Washington, USA