It wasn’t a happy time in my life when I took these. I was living in a small village on the Wirral side of the Dee Estuary, and spent a lot of time tramping over the estuary marshes, feeling as lonely and desolate as the space itself. While I loved the huge skies and feeling of expansiveness there, it had an emptiness that seemed devoid of photographic inspiration. One day, when I was feeling especially bored I decided to forget about looking for photos to take and just enjoy being in the space. I was hopping over one of the many drainage ditches that crisscross the marshes when I looked down and saw that it was contaminated with oil or petrol, and suddenly I had my pictures. I went back again and again. Always there was some kind of pollution in the ditches, although the colours and shapes and type of pollution varied. Each time was so different that I never got tired of it and it was my go-to place for photography for the short time that I lived there.

Initially I saw the colours and patterns as forming small, gem-like landscapes of their own, but as time went on my images became more and more abstract and more about the ever-changing colours and shapes in their own right. I liked the irony of it – the pollution that was damaging this landscape was, at the same time, giving rise to exquisite miniature landscapes and images of its own.


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