dragon fly
Slough Arm Grand Union Canal – heading toward Mansion Lane Road Bridge
walkers with yellow flowers in foreground

About the Landscape Camera Project

 

The objective of the Landscape Camera project is to re-photograph the landscape using the same model created by the original photographer in the 1980s. This enables us to compare the identical views and thus see how the landscape has changed.

 

 

St Peter's Church Iver

Landscape Camera aims to engage people with their landscape's history by taking them on a journey of discovery around the Colne Valley to repeat the photographic record of the valley's landscape carried out in the 1980's. The journey will allow them to compare images of the changing landscape and learn about the Colne Valley's heritage features and discover their own special view of the landscape important to them.

Participants will learn skills in:

  • map reading - in order to find the original photographic points

  • photography - to capture the exact landscape portrait detailed in the album

  • conservation - at key heritage locations where the original photos were taken

 

During the many walks, cycle rides and boat trips required to find and rephotograph the landscape record from the album reference points, participants will be encouraged to identify and photograph their own personal view of the Colne Valley.

 

The project will conclude with a celebration and photographic exhibition of these photographs, the new landscape record and restored photos from the old record and archives from further back. 

 

The photographs will be used to create a landscape discovery trail around the Colne Valley with view points established at key record points voted for by the public.

 

The new and old landscape records will be uploaded to this website where they can be accessed by the public. Visitors and community organisations within the CVRP will be able to upload photographs to continue the record.

Will it be Possible to Re-Create the Original Photographic Record Exactly ?

girl with cameraThe workload to achieve this task is great, complicated further by the modern age of Health and Safety issues, coupled with so many of the points visited in 1982 were still open farmland and countryside.

 

Now many of the points are contained within developed housing estates or warehouse developments. Some in the southern section, are now in the centre of reservoirs or major trunk roads and motorways. This will result in many comparative viewpoints being photographed from the nearest practical point available. However, these now inaccessible points, only emphasise one of the purposes of this project, to catalogue the changing landscape within the Colne Valley Park.

 

The other purpose of the project is to ‘connect’ with the communities who live and work within the Park and those who already use the Park, and raise awareness and promote the countryside on our doorsteps.

There are many activities taking place to involve individuals and communities who care about the Park. Please get involved by looking out for programmed activities in your area and join in.

A two year program of family activities is scheduled to raise awareness of the project to engage communities throughout the Colne Valley to learn about its heritage features and discover their own landscape views and special places.

 

Friends of Colne Valley Park run a program of walks, talks and family activities to raise awareness of the wildlife, heritage and places to visit in the Colne Valley Park and this project will engage communities throughout the Colne Valley to learn about it’s heritage features and discover their own landscape views and special places.

 

Visit Landscape Camera Events to find out how you might get involved.

 

photographers

The inspiration for the Landscape Camera project was 3 albums of landscape photographs taken by an unknown photographer in the late 1970's and early 1980's. In the first album the photographer went to every square cross section on the ordnance survey map of the Colne Valley Regional Park and took a photograph to the north, south east and west. In the other 2 albums the photographer has taken landscape photographs of key features and events in the Colne Valley with grid references; eg. a record of ancient hedgerows and the building of the M25. This has created an amazingly detailed and repeatable study of the landscape. The albums were donated to the CVRP.

 

Original 1982 Landscape Camera Survey Map

 

The map shown here is the map included with the original photographic album that contains all the 444 views associated with the 111 map reference points.

This album, held at the offices of Groundwork South at the Visitor Centre, Denham Country Park, can be viewed at various fetes and fairs held within the Colne Valley Park.

 

A Labour of Love

About 30 years ago, someone had the inspired idea of photographing all the landscape in the Colne Valley. Locating each of the 111 grid points in the 43 square miles that the Valley covers, would have been harder then without the benefit of a modern day GPS device. Sometimes he couldn’t stand on the exact grid point, because for example it was in the river or on private land that could not be accessed. In these cases he stood as close as he could. He then developed all the black and white photos himself and put the prints in several photo albums.

Hunt for Mystery Photographer 

When this project began, the identity of the original photographer was unknown.

The modern day landscape photographers wanted to find out who took the original photos, but the only clues to his or her identity were a contact sheet which had some images, perhaps of the original photographer or his friends and family, taken in the early 1980s. Or they hoped that the initials "RBBG/SB" typed in the album could shed some light.

So this information was put up here and an article sent to the local newspaper asking anyone who recognised the photos to get in touch.

As a result of this and some impressive detective work involving the intials, one of our volunteers discovered that the photographer is  called Robert Gibbs.

 

Landscape Camera Team

Members of the Landscape Camera team, taken at the Visitor Centre Denham.  

Left to Right: Tony Cannon, Nadia Igsiz, Diane McCann, Mike Nye

 

Diane McCann and Tony Cannon both run their own photography company, Devil Photography and also operate a franchise with Going Digital London & the South East. They both run frequent photographic courses at Denham Country Park. Nadia Igsiz is a Project Officer with Groundwork South and is assigned to the Landscape Camera project in the capacity of an advisor. Mike Nye is currently Chairman of the Friends of the Colne Valley Park, the group who secured the funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project.

 

Landscape Camera is funded by Sharing Heritage a new funding programme by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.  It aims to help people across the UK explore, conserve and share all aspects of the history and character of their local area.

 

Commenting on the award Mike Nye Chairman of the Friends of the Colne Valley said: “This funding presents a unique opportunity for us to not only catalogue the past and present views within the Colne Valley Park, but the changes to the visual aspect over 31 years. It allows us to share this photographic record as electronic media, for future generations to engage with and enjoy, protect and enhance, as we are attempting today.”

 

 

Saturday 1st November saw the trial of a new Landscape camera activity that was a cycling route rather than the conventional walk. We intended to cover three photograph points, 16, 20 and 21 using our bikes. A Hillingdon based cycling club, Traffic Free Cycling Club (TFCC), joined us at the De Vere Hotel in Tilehouse Lane Denham, having seen the event  advertised.

From the hotel seven of us set off to cover the route - on road, off road and some walking, achieving about 5.6 miles, returning to the café at Denham Garden Village. It must be said, however, that the four members of TFCC actually started their route from West Drayton and rode back after. Their mileage was approaching 33 miles as their route was all off road.

Our photographs taken were not at the exact point that the 1982 photographs depict, as today much of the land is now fenced off, allowing for only the footpaths bridleways and tracks to be heavily contained, but with the aid of a hand held GPS device the closest map reference points have been recorded.

Point 16 – TQ 030 910 intended position: TQ 030 985 achieved position.

Point 20 – TQ 020 900 intended position: TQ 019 920 achieved position.

Point 21 – TQ 030 900 intended position: TQ 028 900 achieved position.