Aluminium by Nigel Grist
We Almost Met
Sometimes my ideas come as titles rather than images. This was one of those.
It’s an aluminium etching; maybe boulders, maybe cells. I’m not sure but the title seemed right.
I’m a biologist by training and for twenty-five years was co-owner of a marine biological survey company. Photography in various forms has been important to me for both work and pleasure for many years. I’m keen on the detail of macro images but I also try and capture some sense of a landscape. More recently, I have started printmaking and use a variety of techniques especially linocut, collagraph and aluminium etching.
Dartmoor has figured prominently in recent years; I love the place and as a moorland guide I walk there often. The moor seems to be one of those places to which people seem irresistibly drawn, or from which they shy away. After all, it can be foggy, wet and boggy, and here’s nothing to see but grass, rocks and sheep and maybe a few ponies. From a purely factual point of view that’s all true but, as is often the case, it is only a small part of the picture.
For myself, the moor is certainly a frustrating place. Far from there being little to see there is actually so much; layer upon layer of evidence of activities spread over many thousands of years. Each period being influenced by what had gone before and in turn influencing what came later: tinners ‘borrowing’ walls of Bronze Age huts for shelters; enclosures incorporating stones
from ancient rows; traces of four thousand year old land divisions still dividing the moor.
I still find trying to capture something of its nature, even in a small way, very elusive. Dartmoor’s multi-layered complexity needs time, luck and perhaps a combination of techniques to reveal. I try to show in a mixture of prints and photographs some part of the attraction of the moor and to illustrate some aspects with which people may not be familiar.
Wander onto the moor and you will indeed find moor-stone, mist, rushes and rain (and even sheep and ponies), but also, I’m sure, something more.
…to walk unbounded in the mist-veiled hills and stare forever at the unseen view.