Monday 18 May 2015

Industrial Archeology... the River Worth in Keighley. And a Castle.


Some recent photography around the River Worth for this update, a mix of railway and landscape shots, taken between Ingrow and Keighley itself.
A flashback to the start of the year, and a pic which got published online of the "Sir Berkely" on a special for the Vintage Carriage Trust.  The train was only running between Keighley and Ingrow, and not wanting a pic off the station platform I went to a spot I know between the two locations...
...which I returned to a couple of weeks ago for the above shot.  The shunter "Vulcan" is rarely used on service trains, but with the cancellation of the Diesel Gala this year, the railway has been using their locos on more trains so I thought I'd get a picture on the way to work.
The return service allowed me another new location, or at least new for me, from the public footpath at the curve which climbs out of Keighley station.  Most gala days this path is filled with photographers, but first thing on a Sunday morning it was deserted.  Not a bad spot, but I prefer places less urban which is one of the reasons I'd never bothered with it before.
Last Friday the railway were running extra trains in conjunction with the Haworth 1940's weekend, so after lunch I strolled down the road and managed a couple of shots of "Big Jim" in the spring sunshine.
Not quite the location I wanted though, my preferred spot is about 20 yards upstream but was being staked-out by another chap with a camera, which does illustrate a problem.  I got sick of taking photos around the classic Oxenhope-Haworth-Oakworth stretch, out in the countryside, because the world and his dog were turning up to get photos and either staking out the best spots all day, or rudely shoving in front of me because it was more important they get their own perfect shot than it was for me. 
So in the last couple of years I've been taking more pictures around the spots near my house, a less salubrious area, or at least it has been.  In recent months I've noticed a growing number of photographers appearing, who fill up the locations and angles I'd previously only had to compete for with local ne'erdowells, violent teenagers, and junkies.  So apparently the area has become gentrified enough for other photographers (though a fellow photographer did remark that if I keep taking shots there and getting them published online, its basically advertising these locations so I shouldn't be surprised other people then turn up).  On a railway only a few miles long, finding new places to take pictures is tricky.
This spot, as seen at the top of the post, is pretty much the last place I can guarantee not running into other photographers, so it was back there on the Sunday morning when I had an hour to kill.
This is an unusual location; a wooded river corridor which separates a massive council estate and the outer industrial sprawl of Keighley itself, but when you're down there on a quiet morning you could be in the middle of nowhere.
For all its tranquillity, there's a lot of nice old reminders of industrial goings-on.  Randomly erupting from the sagging walls are forgotten, rusty pipes, the banks have the abutments of long-gone footbridges and pipelines.  I rather like industrial archaeology as a subject, and its nice spotting these little bits around.

There's a lot of wildlife too, the above was just a purposely arty shot whilst watching the birds flicking around the river.

Of course, it is still Keighley, and some odd splashes of colour from rubbish lobbed into the river.
More industrial archaeology, and this path which links the riverside with the council estate up the hill.  Its interesting for its various bridges and cuttings as it climbs the hill.
What is interesting about it is the low height of the bridges, and the need to duck along this channel.  It always seemed a bit odd as a path, and this time it was quiet enough to hear running water; under the new-looking concrete path is a culverted stream which I'd never realised was there before, but which makes sense.  The old bridges which once spanned a stream now cross a path built above the old watercourse.  The smooth concrete channel though still appears to act as a floodway, judging by the tidemarks and debris along it.
Fascinating as the location is, even at this time on a Sunday there's a slightly oppressive air to the place, and frankly its not somewhere I'd wander around with a camera after about 10 on a day.  Its a long, narrow, straight path with no opportunities to escape it, and even on a Sunday at 9am I ran into a hooded youth who slowed right down to glare at me, watch me, and follow me for a bit before deciding I wasn't worth the effort.

More industrial remains at the top, with the abutments of the old Great Northern Railway route to Queensbury, which hugs this side of the valley all the way up past where we live.  The low height of the remaining abutments again illustrates the converted nature of the waterway.

Heading back down the path, the returning service heading for Oxenhope.  Not the best shot, but then horses refuse to stand in the best composed-locations...

Nearly back at the car, and some nice ferns growing out of the massive stone retaining walls.  For now, until it fills up with other photographers, its a useful spot for photos.
Whilst I've been wandering around taking pictures by the river, a quick look at one of Amy's projects... not necessarily art, but a big build and approached like we would a project, and thus we have Bingley Castle.  Assisting her father in his garden, its been built as a nice little play area for the foster kids.

   Coming next, we should be able to start posting our look-back at older projects, in a looking back into our archives series.

Sunday 10 May 2015

"Swarm" at Rydal Hall

Right, an update after a while, and a bit on a recent exhibition we've been involved with.  Our friend Clare Humphries over in Ambleside, Lake District, is regularly involved, via the Lakes Collective, with organising arts and sculptures events at Rydal Hall.  "Swarm at Rydal Hall" sounds slightly like a concept album from the 70's, but bear with us...
Last year, just before the kids moved in, Amy contributed a piece to the Sculpture Trail for 2014, and were invited back to enter some work for a big collaborative piece for 2015, on the theme of "Swarm".  So some slightly frantic building work in the early part of the year, a slightly last-minute day off to get it the lakes, and here we are in Rydal.
Rydal Hall is a very nice stately home, with lovely gardens, woodland, camping, and a great relationship with the arts.

A shot from the Sculpture Trail, which not only grows every year, but weathers and blends with the surroundings too, making some nicely subtle artworks to look at and find.

"Swarm" was set around this rather nice tree on the approach road to the camping area, opposite the paths to the waterfall.
A few shots of some of the brilliant artworks contributed by a variety of artists and sculptors, school groups and community art schemes...
And so onto our work.  Amy decided to produce a swarm of bees which could be strung up from the branches.

The bees were designed to be simple, slightly abstract shapes, fashioned from baked Fimo and ironed bubble-wrap, hanging from very fine wire.
My own take was slightly darker, a test really for a project I've been thinking about for a while, creatures/animals made up of machine parts.  In this case, a spider and flies made up from leftover, upcycled models and toys from previous projects like "The Britannia Model Village".  The spider is mainly made of tanks, helicopters, and railway tracks.

Its nice to do something 'art' as opposed to just 'photography' every now again, and the show is running for a little while over at Rydal- the other sculptures (particularly the spider made from fallen bits of tree) are fantastic and well worth a look, as is the sculpture trail in the grounds.  Big thanks due to Clare, Rydal Hall, and the Lakes Collective.  We've been asked to contribute to a show next year as well, but the theme is under wraps for the time being...