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© 2017 John Kiely        john@purlieu.photography             Phone +447736849388



“a house, especially a farmhouse, and outbuildings.
Origin: Old English hamstede ‘a settlement’”
Oxford Dictionaries.

Homestead, usually printed in an old English font, is a term which often appears on ordinance survey maps in areas of woodland or open hillsides.  Often it is quite difficult to identify the evidence of these dwellings.  Sometimes the remains are obvious, other locations have more obscure traces of habitation.  The terms, settlement, ruin or even hut circles are often used on maps for the same purpose.  In some cases the descriptor refers to past industry, such as quarry or levels both often followed by (disused).

One thing that these areas have in common is their link to past human activity.  People have lived, worked, raised families, even died in these places.  The evidence maybe often sparse but the remnants of the rituals of existence are still present in the spirit of the place.  Spend some time sitting quietly and the echoes of the past will resonate in the receptive imagination.

This series of images explores locations marked on Ordinance Survey maps in this manner.  Some images will contain structures that identify the place with habitation or industry, while others will be less prescribed.  This project also marks a departure from my normal shooting style in that it is in colour.  The approach is not intended to an objective method, nor is it a romantic or picturesque one.  The object is to identify the ‘homestead’ and associate the location with the past inhabitants.  The two working together should suggest the past activities and enable the observer to identify with traces of the previous occupants of the physical space.