We travelled out of town for a few days, I'd rather escape for my birthday, than wallow in the everyday streets I find myself. It was my longest distance drive up to the Peak District, long single lane roads, soon followed by winding, smaller roads of the dales. It's exciting, visiting someone new, or revisited after many many years. I've had itchy feet to travel for a couple of years now, being chained down to studying, and institutional schedules means that anywhere new, is fine with me.
Day One of the trip and my Cosina 35mm breaks down, it's been playing up for a while, extreme sticky shutter issues, and I've motored on, ignoring the damage. This camera has been with me as a main, or backup camera on every photo-shoot I've undertaken in the past 13 years, it means a lot. I've thought about buying a replica and putting it into retirement for some time, I guess the shelf is where it'll head now. Any trip I'll always take a bag of cameras, usually a Polaroid from my collection (original Polaroid, rarely a Fuji Instax). Often a medium format, I've been using my Mamiya a lot lately, and probably a 50p pano-cam I found in a charity shop last year. The Cosina going meant, I had to either shoot really light-weight, or lug around the Mamiya. I didn't shoot a lot, choosing my subjects carefully.
As soon as we stepped out of the car in Matlock, Brandon and I stared at the over-looking Riber Castle. I'm still thinking about it a week on. It's my new Anglia Square.
Overlooking the whole town like the perfect setting from a Horror, silhouetted fantastically against the angry clouds covering the sky behind, this is Riber. Looking for a route up there on a map, and it's almost impossible to find until you dig a little deeper. The castle itself isn't listed - which only gave me more reason to dig. Little research gives you the story, it's abandonment, currently out of bounds to the public... it would make a great film setting I thought; and there you go, 2004 saw it as the backdrop for Shane Meadow's DEAD MANS SHOES - one of my favourite Brit films (it does look a lot different close up than it does as the house on the hill). I knew I needed to explore, just get a little closer.
Traveling to a new place always bring's excitement to a photographer, the searching for something new is a constant battle for unrest. I didn't want to shoot too much during this trip, I'm feeling a little shot out from the past few months, and just want to enjoy nothingness. That being said, I'd never leave a camera behind. I wanted a few nice landscapes, hills, heathers and sky. We made the most of the few days, mixed in some urban exploration, some industrial leftovers, and I'm still mazed by the amount of ruins found around the Peaks, it's a decayed-lover's dream. We found a 'secret waterfall' (not so secret, it was on Google), but it was set amongst an old ruined mill, layers and layers steeped into the hillside, nature taking over at it's finest. The sun came out just in time for the perfect sunbeams through the trees.
The great thing about shooting film, is that you are very much living in the moment, there's no instantaneous recap, to make sure you've got it. You have to be strong, look and think hard about what you want. And I didn't relay these until about a week afterwards when I'd processed the rolls as a batch. I've got a great collection of squares, backed up by the Polaroid windows, and the last roll of 35mil from the now debunked Cosina (soon to be reincarnated)...
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