Slowing down seeing


Sophie Cunningham Dawe

My best images are my better ‘accidents’ but sometimes, as in this one, something I couldn’t see that the camera could, is captured.

I shot this while walking through bluebell woods near Steventon, Hampshire, where Jane Austen would have walked in her younger years. Not until I uploaded the image did I notice an almost horizontal shaft of light, like a lintel, creating a kind of portal. This seemed particularly apt, an invitation, almost, while walking in Jane’s footsteps, to time travel.

There’s no in-camera movement however I preferred the compositional balance of tone when in negative form, done in post-production, and the ‘slowing down the seeing’ that this achieves. The image became part of an installation shown at Jane Austen’s House Museum in 2013 although the backstory, as here, remained untold. I hope to extend the series in bluebell season this year too.

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