Drops of rain that land upon the tight knot of his scarf run together down his front; down the sodden, matted weave of his saturated overcoat; flow down at last upon his heavy boots, and run by turns to earth, over scuffed caps, to join the muddied waters of the stream below…

Woodland Path Below Springpond Well 2011

Glacial Gravels, Gravelly Hill 2012

Trampling briars, whose razor thorns attack his flesh, he staggers up the rolling bank to seize the view. Up here, his simple tools humped upon his back, the Mapmaker stands out against the darkening sky.

‘Facts. Hard facts,’ he mutters. ‘There’s nothing worth knowing but facts… I’ll take a reading here.’

Establishing A Baseline 2012

The wind picks up, leans hard upon the trees, and drives deep shadows cast across the ground…

Off The Scale 2013

Fox Hole, Stag Bog 2012

Reading Taken In Error 2012

Maps are beautiful and fascinating documents of the interaction between man and nature. They embody our twin instincts to measure the world around us and to represent that world in abstract form, and in both of these they are the products of reality and of the imagination.

I like to explore these themes by imitating the practice of surveyors and mapmakers of old. I go into the landscape with my ‘mapmaking’ tools – a camera and a mirror – to make surveys of my own, taking ‘readings’ by flagging or tracing around natural features with the mirror so that flashes or ghost-like trajectories are recorded in the camera. These ‘readings’ appear alongside other images and written works that make up the archive of a fictional mapmaker’s life.

Brushwood, Springpond Well 2012

Fieldwork 2013

Survey By Moonlight, Hookhamslade Pond 2012

The titles complete the meaning of the works, providing a narrative of the Mapmaker’s progress and describing what it is he’s measured or recorded – from a natural feature, to a sound, a wind or a thought. By alluding to the myriad ways in which we absorb and record our surroundings, they reveal the shifting balance of forces that, like a map, constitutes our experience.

My practice gives me an opportunity for expression that contrasts vividly with photography’s mechanical nature, and brings me into alignment with the real mapmaker, whose quiet presence can never be subtracted from the maps he makes.

Hookhamslade Brook Within Earshot 2012

Ode to the Mapmaker’s Art 2013

‘I love the idea of Mapmaker – a timeless figure intent on his work through the ages, half Victorian gentleman scientist, half feral artist…’
Ilona Szalay, Artist