Henry's Hill Peopleby Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com Apr/2012
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Photographer Henry Iddon has launched a new photographic project online. Shot in the Lakes, Hill People is a series of portraits of ordinary hillgoers from serious fellrunners to beer-sipping lads on a weekend jolly.
'In a nutshell, the idea was to stop and have a proper look at the people who visit the upland environment - who they are, what they wear and how they present themselves' explains UKH/UKC user Henry. 'I'm also curious as to how modern clothing mediates our experience of the environment we go to explore. A visit to the mountain these days 'feels' entirely different to how it would even 25 years ago, with the advent of fleece and Gore-Tex etc.'
Shot in 6x7 medium format, some of Henry's subjects are attired 'appropriately' (and expensively, as you might expect); but many look like they've just wandered off the high street onto a hill. And that was partly the point of the project.
'I expected more people to have 'bought in' to outdoor apparel - and was pleasantly surprised by the number of people in less expensive / normal clothing that was still suitable to wear on the hill' Henry tells us.
'Obviously flip flops and skinny jeans aren't ideal in bad weather - but part of me applauded the young guys I met on Scafell in the evening in midsummer. They were totally ill prepared for the hills - but then again it was settled weather and very warm, plus they had food with them. I say food - in the satchel was a single use BBQ , sausages and bacon, along with several cans of Carling lager! It turned out they were from York and had been sat in the pub discussing the fact they didn't go on holiday often enough so had headed to Wasdale with some basic camping equipment. They had then decided "to walk up there", in other words Scafell. It's easy to be a snob and be critical of them but as I say it was warm and very settled weather - at least they were out enjoying the environment instead of being back in York getting hammered in the pub.'
Starting in 2008, Hill People was shot all over the Lake District to get a spread of people and locations. It's a work in progress, and Henry would still like to add more portraits.
Hill People follows up on a previous project, Spots of Time, which captures images of the Lake District by night.
'I'm curious to find new ways and reasons to photograph the mountain environment - traditional picturesque landscapes are fine to a point but they do little to delve any deeper than show what a scene looked like at a given time. Plus a lot of things begin to become cliched' Henry says.
He is now working on a new project called A Place to Go, shot on large format negative and documenting mountain landscapes where there have been fatal accidents, spanning from 1805 up to the present day.
For more of Henry's work see his pages on the Cargocollective website.