• Nick Wiltshire

Where I've been (and where the hell now)?

Cornish Beach, cira 1990

My career in photography has been, interesting. I've spent time with some of the best photographers in the world, worked on some amazing projects, met the best (and worst) people all through photography.

My story with photography has been a love affair and an adventure, unfortunately (and I'm not saying this out of any self pity, it is just the way it is) I'm not a hero in this story, I'm more of the hero's friend who hangs around trying his hardest but says dawkish things and breaks stuff, I'm basically a photographic Chunk from The Goonies.

The times when I've been at my best is when I've wandered off by myself into the countryside to take pictures. It has taken me a long time to realise that this single point is the epicentre of my practice and message of my work.

Afon Hepste, cira 1993

For me there is no more, I will go along to the seminars, I'll sit quietly in the groups of people I know when they are discussing photography, I'll even try to go to Arles (festival of photography) and soak it up, all in the knowledge that I haven't the chance of conversing on a level with my contemporaries (before you say anything, I just can't remember names, places, books etc. I can look them up, I see them in my mind's eye, but in conversation it just doesn't work like that and do you know what, this has been my biggest stumbling block as an artist).

So what is there; a lifelong obsession of the UK countryside through the eyes of a slightly odd introvert and looking back at my archive, that's fine. Photography goes with you, the photographs I have taken are a depository of what has happened in my life (with maybe notable holes where very dark times happened). The thread that runs through my photographs is the interplay between friends and family and the UK countryside.

Dancers End, 2019

I could quite easily start waffling right now, about cultural history, the uncanny, the sublime, blah blah (I still want to do a PhD maybe, one day, if they let me), but just to say there is a mystery in the form and beauty of the natural world. Humans define that mystery, it is mostly subjective, but I believe there is a commonality and a path that leads us to be entranced. There is need there, whether looking at a sunset or staring at a tree in the spring breeze, there is a off-loading of stress, an uploading of something else altogether more spiritual.

Somewhere in North Wales (!), 2011

I'm approaching 50 now, so I have a timeline. My son is getting on (just turning eleven at the writing of this article) and at the moment, I'm doing alright financially. So I have a starting point again (the end point isn't fixed but I'm hoping I get a fair few years yet!). I hope to get a camper soon so I can go out and be in the environment quickly and simply. Also, as I go through the process of scanning in my images, perhaps (after this blinking pandemic) going and seeing some shows and talks, and reading some more books, I'll get a bit of inspiration to find context to my ramblings (visual and otherwise).

That at the moment is it. I'll carry on scanning and posting, thinking and shaping and watching. That's the thing, this is a journey (corny as that may sound), I consider my self extremely lucking (hopefully I still will for a while) to be able to go on this journey, for me, for my own happiness, with the hope that it will bring some happiness to others too. I may not be the hero photographer with all the shots and the followers and the representation and so on, but I am happy with where I have been and where I'm going.

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