A long time ago, in assignment 1, we were required to create a Biography and an Artist’s Statement for use during the process of asking for feedback. I’ve modified it slightly since then and, very definitely, changed the associated image to the one shown here. I’m still not sure how I’m going to display this information. I was going to use perspex stands (A3) to place on a table but I’ve seen these get moved or lost before now. An alternative would be to have this information on a laptop screen, cycling between the three elements but I’m wary of leaving a laptop in a public area where there will be many people passing through the bar area. Anyway, I’m sure that a solution will arrive.
Gaz Williams is a nature photographer based in Windsor, Berkshire. His early life in North Wales, living next to the sea but with access to the forests, rivers and rugged mountains of the area inspired in him a love of nature. Avoiding the crowds led him to develop a love of exploring, of leaving the beaten path inhabited by the many, and discovering those hidden areas, accessible only to the adventurous.
His prize-winning work has twice been exhibited at the Joe Cornish Gallery in Northallerton, Yorkshire and full-page commercial images have appeared in the Guardian Magazine, the Observer, Country Life and other magazines. His travel photography has taken pride of place on the brochures of companies to highlight travel to those out of the way places, away from the crowds.
His first solo exhibition, featuring the hidden areas of Windsor Great Park, will be held late 2018 and he invites comment or discussion on this at www.gaslight.me.uk/contact
In addition I need some way of describing the portfolio and its theme, basically saying what “Virtual Boundaries” is all about
The Virtual Boundaries of Windsor Great Park
Modern photography is generally perceived as having originated when Louis Daguerre announced the daguerreotype in 1839. Similarly, mass tourism can be said to have started two years later when Thomas Cook chartered a train to run a short leisure outing. Since their near-simultaneous origins the two have become inextricably linked.
Windsor, visited by around 8 million tourists each year, is typical in this regard, the ubiquitous camera phone in evidence throughout the town resulting in millions of images being uploaded to social media as tourists use these sites to relive their trips and to show off their experiences. Most of these tourists will enter Windsor Great Park, even if it simply to stroll along the first stretch of the Long Walk.
Given the interest of the global media in much of the Great Park, particularly the Castle itself, and the sheer number of images taken by the tourists and delivered throughout the world, both physically and virtually via the web, the volume and reach of this material is enormous. This ensures that tourists will create an image of the place from the absorption of publicly available material before travelling in a process described as ‘place consumption’.
This has been described as an ‘easy pleasure’ since the tourist has already seen these earlier images and been told ‘this is where to stand and see it’, resulting in repetitive images being accessed by future tourists, typified by such images as the Long Walk and Savill Gardens. The huge volume of this imagery creates a constant, repetitive sense of place through this absorption ensuring that this limited area becomes self-perpetuating as tourists revisit places that they have seen beforehand on Social Media and becomes the norm for future tourists.
Unknowingly these tourists from around the world have created an imaginary world where their collective work speaks of far more than their individual images, creating a virtual world within the physical constraints of the Park. However, the boundary of this area is not physical, it can change and be moved by the adventurous, those prepared to step off the beaten path and explore.
The Great Park has many beautiful areas, accessible to the public, which can be accessed by those who cross these virtual boundaries and explore while still being mindful of the delicate nature of the environment there, especially in those areas of Scientific or Conservation interest.
Finally the Artist’s Statement
The majority of visitors to Windsor Great Park follow the same routes as their predecessors, constrained by their own preconceptions of the area, afraid to leave the beaten path and create their own experience. These preconceptions have been created by images and text in magazines and social media, an imagined geography that develops the Tourism Space that is Windsor Great Park and is then itself modified by that Tourism Space.
In my exploration of the Park I’ve come to love those other areas, the ones that lie outside of this predefined space requiring the visitor to step off the beaten path and explore.
Each of these images shows a glimpse of that “other side”, accessible to those who would leave the beaten path and discover their own world, treating the rabbit hole as a portal rather than as a barrier.
Added note: I’ve had the images printed and mounted so ended up doing the same for my information. The image below has been printed at A2 size and mounted on 3mm Foamex (see later blogs about this choice). The background images to the board are all from the Park but not part of the exhibition.