charles rangeley-wilson – writing about fishing, travel, rivers, conservation

Silt Road – Exhibition

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My head is swimming with the toxic high of car paint, having just spray-painted a dozen mdf back-boards to frame an exhibition of images that came from my Silt Road project.

The photographs will be on display in High Wycombe Public Library from the Tuesday the 16th to the Sunday 28th April (the library is closed on Sundays). I took hundreds of images as I researched Silt Road, many as visual notes to help with the writing, others just because I liked the image, or because it formed a record of some sort, of witness, or evidence. Some of these found their way in to the book, though their role set in the text was more documentary than aesthetic (though sometimes both). Just a few others I started to like in their own right, as a series of photographs that could stand alone as an intimate portrait of the river. I was really attracted to compositions that somehow projected the pastoral beauty of the valley’s lost past through the corralled reality of the river today. And for that reason there are echoes of a few paintings I am fond of in some of these images too: Monet’s waterscapes, Constable’s images of watermeadows and fords, Millais’ Ophelia – she’s a For Sale sign in one, an upturned bath-tub in another.

For the exhibition I have chosen a dozen of these images printed at A2 on canson baryta paper, mounted on PVC board and floated in black box frames as shown above. Alongside my photographs I will be showing a dozen archive images of the lost river, chosen from the SWOP archive. These are pictures of the river taken from various points along the course that is buried today, scenes that are lost forever.

For anyone interested in seeing the exhibition and hearing me read from the book I will be giving a talk on Silt Road at the library on the evening of Thursday 18th April. For details click here.

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