,“Landscapes are culture before they are nature; constructs of the imagination projected onto wood and water and rock...once a certain idea of landscape,a myth, a vision, establishes itself in an actual place, it has a peculiar way of muddling categories, of making metaphors more real than their referents; of becoming, in fact, part of the scenery.” Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory.
All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware". Martin Buber
"Evidence of Unknown Journeys", recent photographs by Anthony Hopewell, is a body of work based around the notion of movement; both physical movement, forward through the landscape (these small-camera works are moments of stasis created whilst engaged in the act of walking), and conceptually backwards through time, evidenced through the intimate examination of the historical traces of our forbears.
During the pandemic, cities, towns, people, the usual fare of the flaneur, were all out of bounds, however bridleways, holloways, tramways, traditional walking routes, retained privileged access, and movement through this network formed the basis of this work.
Though started several years ago as an exploration into the notion of pilgrimage, how traditional routes have become commodified, secularised in pursuit of the tourist dollar, that work was never resolved. The interest in the notion of movement however persisted; in film work looking at the historical dislocation of Cornish miners in a diaspora in southern Spain, the Grand Tour through Iberia undertaken by a young Lord Byron, and in the restless thought adventures of D H Lawrence.
This current work marks Hopewell's return to still-image making, through a practice predicated on walking. Rather than providing evidence of a route, as favoured by walking artists such as Richard Long or Hamish Fulton, Hopewell's works are not forensically annotated with the traditional navigator's tools of Latitude and Longitude or Distance and Duration. These images stand as moments of stasis, testaments to things seen and carefully observed whilst travelling on foot.
As such they are more influenced by the writings of Iain Sinclair, Rebecca Solnit, Simon Armitage, Simon Schama, Robert Macfarlane and Roland Barthes, than by the more photographic tropes of grandiose landscape photography.
The photographs are produced as pigment prints on delicate Japanese papers and are available in editions limited to 5.