The brief: “Produce a series of approximately 12 photographs that are made on, or explore the idea of, a journey.”
While I was exploring Ashdown Forest for assignment one, I looked briefly at sites related to Winnie the Pooh (one of my childhood favourites). I had expected a visitor centre I could pop to, but the National Park authorities have kept tourism to a minimum and there are no large branded attractions to be had. However, there is a proposed walk which takes in many of the sites referenced in the books and I promised myself I would go back and do the walk at some point.
This is my proposed starting point for assignment two. For ages I have been wanting to explore the way in which we represent the countryside in children’s fiction, and also how the idealised landscape (particularly woodland) is often a site for myth and magic – from Hansel and Gretel to Lord of the Rings. In assignment one I touched on the way in which landscape is constructed in the mind rather than viewed impartially, and this will be all the more true when visiting a landscape with which I have been familiar since early childhood yet have never actually seen.
This is the map from inside my much loved copy of Winnie the Pooh; before I visit the walk for the first time I want to re-read the book so that the places and events are fresh in my mind. It will then be interesting to see what images I come back with, and hopefully it will lead towards an assignment representing the way I see the hundred acre wood transcribed onto the reality of Ashdown Forest.
We are asked as part of this assignment to procure maps of our journey to help us plan (or possibly even to appropriate as part of our project). The illustrated map above is key for me – I am reluctant on this occasion to investigate on Google Earth because I want my images on my first visit to reflect my first impressions and not be coloured by preconceptions from other people’s images. I will therefore look more into other people’s representations of the area after my first visit; I don’t doubt that others have photographed this area in relation to Winnie the Pooh and their work may have some bearing on how the novel has influenced the way this area is portrayed.