It has been my intention to make an extended trip to explore new regions and by doing so develop my photographic style, which has become a little ‘stuck in a rut’. Two things were getting in the way, firstly for the last ten years the vans that have become central to my working practice have all been, should we say not up to a long journey? The main reason was I had a full time job as a photography lecturer, which I used to love but in recent years I have become increasingly frustrated with. In October 2017 I left my job, I was in the position that I could claim a very small pension but could also get a tax free lump sum. I planned to buy an old motorhome, my last four vans have been home conversions. My wife, Jan, who had a few months earlier given up her teaching job for health reasons, suggested we bought a newer model between us. So we went posh, we bought a 2008 Fiat Ducato based motorhome.
Our initial plan was to leave for Spain in January 2018, but various barriers got in the way, so I spent the first year building up my studio work, mainly running workshops and a small amount of exhibiting. To add to this I also moved to a much larger studio with bigger darkrooms. We finally set off at the beginning of October 2018. The very loose plan was to follow two friends to Cadiz and see where we went from there. Van packed and Kelsey the lurcher on board we set off for an over night stay in Kent.
The following morning we boarded the Eurostar and left England behind. The first planned stop was La Ville Aux Dames, nears Tours, on the banks of the Loire. This was just a one night stay, but the location gave me the chance to get started with some image making. There was a wooded area alongside the river that presented the opportunity to start shooting. Initially I started as I had left off with the Echoes of Ritual images, multi exposure in black and white using the Hasselblad CWD. To be honest, I wasn’t that happy with the results, I think that after publishing the book that approach had reached it’s natural conclusion. France, however, was not my main subjects area so the first part of the journey was almost a rehearsal.