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Month: November 2013

Documenting the Autumn Harvest

Posted in Documentary Photography, Personal Work, and Spain

Paris and Andru have big plans for a sustainable, just and democratic future. Underpinning their life is avoiding endless consumption that harms future generations and the environment. Based in Monforté, north western Spain, in the Galician valleys, with a family of three dogs, a cat and chickens, they’re working on a sustainable future and living according to the seasonal rhythms. The hope of the near future is involving more people in the project aside from the regular stream of Woofers. Currently, they’re weathering autumn and heading into winter, whilst work stops on the building of the second storey of their small stone cottage. I’m letting the images tell the story of their life on the farm. You can find out more on their blog.

The Small Print of a Spanish Reunion

Posted in Documentary Photography, Galicia, Personal Work, and Spain

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Nearby land discovered on a four hour walk to pick wild figs
I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while, waiting to finish it as a few health issues have cropped up; unsure about posting it as is without an illustrative night time shot. If I thumb twiddle long enough, it will never get put up, so here it is with the promise of more to come soon:

Looking up at the blanket of stars in an inky sky, with heat pillowing around me in great gasps, the twinkling expanse lifts me up with its temporary beauty. Dark, tree-lined, weaving mountainous landscapes scurry in the background past the van window.

The last time I saw the little green van, it was parked in the day-time streets of Hackney in London, crammed full of belongings about to set off on an adventure.

Today, dirtier, scratched and rough around the edges, the van climbs along on the near empty Galician highways until it finally reaches the descent of a dirt road and juts and bumps along on the track taking us closer towards our destination, the farm.

First photo taken in the living room before I fell asleep
First photo taken in the living room before I fell asleep

Sitting in the passenger seat watching the night skyline wiggle past, I’m next to the driver, my best friend Paris, who through circumstances and situations, I’ve not seen for over two years; Andru, his partner is sat in the back. A hurried rush of words, stories and anecdotes flit by as we catch up.

Conversations tail off as the van lurches forward on the rutted, uneven trail, with the headlights puncturing the darkness ahead of us and finally, after endless motorised lurching, the van stops at the gravel clearing at a path turning at the foothills of the mountains. We get out of the vehicle straight into the trill of crickets chorusing across the valley and are greeted by three excitable dogs. A tan coloured one un-relentlessly barks, whilst a little white dog paws at me and a shy black dog hangs back in the distance, pacing.

Tired after a day’s travelling from London to Spain, I heave my heavy backpack from the boot onto my shoulders and wearily head downhill following the moonlight spilling through shadowed trees. I can hear the dogs scampering ahead. Apprehensively, I step along the uneven, narrow dirt path and try to avoid the weight of my luggage shunting me forward, flat on my face into the unknown descending path.

Shortly, we reach a small door at the entrance of a little squat stone building and make our way in. Walking in towards the main room, I cast off my backpack and glance around at the homely surroundings. The intimate space with masses of grey stones stacked as walls, alongside more recent bricks painted white is lit with a yellowed glow from the turquoise desk lamp; clamped onto wooden shelves occupied by jars and containers of herbs, condiments and dried goods. There’s a comforting sight of shelves made from trunks and aged planks stacked to the ceiling, full of books, fronted by a camper-bed-come-sofa, dotted with cushions. There’s a simple kitchen space on the left with a dining table full of produce and belongings. A wooden coffee table furnishes the middle of the living area, a corner wicker chair and homely rugs adorn the floors. Long, olive-green velvet curtains dress an informal seating area and the rustic wooden framed window with the outside blackness for a view. An ornate door sits in the centre of the back wall.

The three of us are exhausted; Paris and Andru head for their bedroom after shooing out the dogs and barricading the un-lockable front and back doors. Unrolling my sleeping bag, I fall asleep on the couch with the steady chirping of crickets punctuating my slumber.

Woken early by warm sunlight streaming in through the window and a shrill cockerel call, I hear scratching and scrabbling at the door and see a tiny, ginger paw hooking under the ornate metal trying to get in. Removing the stack of wood blocking the entrance, I’m greeted by a sprightly, diminutive ginger cat who hops onto the window-sill eyeballing me in a bemused fashion.

Sleepy eyed Paris and Andru trudge into the living area, the barricade on the other door is removed, the dogs are ushered in and a pot of oats is put on the stove for breakfast. Michael another friend who is staying at the farm comes in and we set down for our first meal of the day.