Followers of this blog will have an idea about the number of photographs I have taken of the Cambridgeshire Fenlands. Most of the captures included were taken during the Winter of 2020/21 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic; maybe that is why they are so dark. For me, these are archetypal images of the land I walk across and cycle through every day. It is where I live. Others will see this place very differently but this is a personal interpretation of the landscape, the roads, tracks, rivers, dykes, droves and the wetlands of East Anglia.
The conceptual artist Richard Long would have enjoyed using these industrial machines. On the road leading to the village of Coveney, old irrigation ditches are being refurbished. Giant earth moving equipment cut through the clay subsoil in V cross sections, like a knife through butter. Water immediately flows into the channel mirroring the sky. These large scale sculptural interventions will never find their way to the Tate Modern turbine hall…but they really should.
Just beyond the cycle path that follows the river Great Ouse, a line of trees dominates the flat terrain.
There is something compelling about the roads and rivers of the Cambridgeshire Fenland. In fact, there is something compelling about all roads and rivers wherever they may be. Ever since the invention of the camera, roads have long held a particular fascination for photographers. There are so many associations and connections
; they are often used as symbols to reflect upon significant moments in our lives. If you do a little research, you will find that roads feature in a wide range of poetry and songs. Below is a well known poem by Robert Frost about making those critical choices.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveller, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.
White House Road
I think late Autumn and Winter are probably the best seasons for landscape photographers living in the Fenlands. I know that Cambridgeshire doesn’t have the dramatic landscapes of the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales or even the Trough of Bowland, but it does have something special.
At this time of year the landscape maintains a gritty and determined resolve. There is a complete absence of pretension and prettiness. The uneven roads and tilted telegraph poles, the isolated columns of tall trees, vast skies with fields stretching to the distant horizon make me feel as if I have been cast adrift on an open sea.
John Clare: The Fens
There’s not a hill in all the view, Save that a forked cloud or two Upon the verge of distance lies And into mountains cheats the eyes. And as to trees the willows wear Lopped heads as high as bushes are; Some taller things the distance shrouds That may be trees or stacks or clouds Or may be nothing; still they wear A semblance where there’s nought to spare.
The Road to Southery
Returning from the Norfolk Coast on the Southery Road there is an isolated, abandoned farmhouse. It is beautiful in its simplicity and architectural understatement.
These are the vast open landscapes of the Cambridgeshire Fenlands that influence my paintings. This image was taken with a Fuji X100F when the sky was particularly dramatic. I have carried out some basic editing – mainly tonal adjustments and sharpening – using Silver Efex Pro2. I have to say the Fuji is a great little camera, easy to take with you and it produces really good jpg’s with the Acros settings. You can’t really tell from the photograph but it was an incredibly blustery day out in the Fens….the clouds were racing across the sky. Really should have used a tripod and a long exposure to capture the movement; maybe next time.
A selection of my photographs were exhibited. The exhibition called ‘Fenland’ included a black and white print series at the ‘Beyond the Image’ photographers gallery in Thornham Magna, Suffolk. The exhibition opened on July 2nd and ran until July 25th 2021.
For all current exhibitions and galleries please keep up to date here.
Book Available: 'Fenland' Photography Print Series by Peter Corr
I have many more images on this theme and collated them in a book using the Bookwright software which you can find a preview here or clicking the photo below. What you will find in the book is an edited collection and some of these shots you may have already seen and some you can find in this post.
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I am a UK based abstract landscape painter/artist with a range of compelling and popular original mixed media paintings available to buy. You can follow my artistic practices, latest artworks and painting techniques and news by reading my contemporary art blog.
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I am a British artist based in Ely, Cambridgeshire and my work is sought by collectors here in the UK and worldwide. I have exhibited recently at the Battersea Affordable Art Fair, The Babylon Gallery in Ely, The Art in East Anglia Gallery, in Bury St Edmunds, The Darryl Nantais Gallery in Linton, The Michael House Centre and The Locker cafe in Cambridge. I also have collections of my artwork in prestigious office settings in major towns and cities throughout the country.
I work in mixed media, oil, cold wax, acrylic, bitumen and on both medium and large-scale canvases. My techniques involve a range of techniques and processes including, drawing, painting, collage, printing and mixed media applications. My main subject matter is landscape and abstraction and many of my paintings are located somewhere between figurative and non-figurative approaches to image-making.