There is nothing more satisfying than putting together a shoot. From choosing the theme, to finding the inspirational images that convey to your team what you are trying to achieve, to sourcing a photographer, MUA and models.
And then of course there’s the location. I am nosey. Very nosey. I love to explore – look in things, behind things, around things and go into places where I just shouldn’t be. Well, you’ve got the jist. And there’s nothing more magnetic than a disused building or ‘site of interest’. I can see the virtue in almost any derelict place for a photoshoot. Everything has its uses.
Lincolnshire has some fantastic abandoned places. I’m sure all the other counties do as well, but we have some truly wonderful places. And it isn’t always about seeing the site for what it is. Something that looks quite drab and uninteresting can come alive with the right look and a photographer with an eye for the extreme. From derelict country houses, to old WWII aircraft control towers there is plenty to keep me busy for a while.
Travel is tricky. In ‘ye olden days’ I had a car – four wheels that got me anywhere I wanted to be – my trusty old friend. But then the prospect of University and student loans beckoned and I realised I could never maintain my own set of ageing wheels for the duration. So it was the first thing that went, and although at the time it spelt the end of an era (I haven’t been without a car since passing my test) it did feel like a liberation from the shackles of yet another set of bills. Now of course, I would give my right arm for motoring freedom (I have one car free year of Uni left). These days, to go on planned location hunt days or use somewhere further afield than central Lincoln generally requires a chum with a car. But I digress…..
Bank Holiday Monday saw us (myself and fellow explorer Andy Benn) heading out to North Lincolnshire for a planned exploration – three places on our hit list – Pingley PoW camp, Pelham’s Pillar and Stenigot. The rain came down in stair-rods, though thankfully (and unusually for Lincolnshire) without the gale force winds.
Pingley, we discovered, is sadly no more, flattened at the end of last year to make way for a new housing estate which seems to have been stopped in its tracks by the recession. You can see how it looked several years ago here, but years of abuse from local vandals and souvenir hunters sealed its fate. A terrible shame.
Pelham’s Pillar is on private land so there is no access to this intriguing monument, but we were rewarded with two beautiful stone lions which I suspect will not go unused. It was completed in 1849 when it was visited by Prince Albert and dedicated to Charles Anderson-Pelham, the 1st Earl of Yarborough who died in 1846.
I think of Aslan….
Lastly, Stenigot – or rather the abandoned WWII radar dishes just outside of it. Need I say more!
I have big plans for this amazing place. The structure and the contour lines are just stunning on such a vast scale and the colours of the aging metal leap out on film .Standing next to something from history yet so futuristic at the same time is quite inspiring. Whilst a few vandals and graffiti artists have got in, the strength of these structures means they are likely to be here for some time unless officialdom decides to do away with them.
The key thing to remember when visiting these places is respect. They may be old and decrepid, abandoned and seemingly unloved but they don’t need our help to send them on their merry way to oblivion. Capture these things on film yes, use them creatively for art and adornment, but don’t vandalise them or pick bits off them. I realise it is going to happen regardless, depending on the aspirations of the visitor but as photographers and artists I think we have a moral duty to help preserve what is left of these little pockets of nostalgia. Many of these places are of significant historical interest to the people that they matter to, and they had their place in our country’s history. It would be nice to leave them so that in years to come others can enjoy them in the same way.