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Looking for that rustic charm…

Today, as I browsed through the photographs on my camera (which are still not printed or uploaded arrrgh!) I was reminded of a project I was forced to do at art school. I say forced, as the completion of the project was one of the conditions for securing a place at the school ready for the September induction. So anyhoo, this project was entitled ‘1000 ways of seeing’ and involved being a bit of a tramp, scouring the streets for bits of dropped rubbish that ‘sparkled’ and ‘looked pretty’. We were even encouraged to find scraps of takeaway paper from McDonald’s big macs…I despair just thinking about it!!

I think this was the beginning of the end for me and my relationship with contemporary art, but anyway, I digress. So, as well as finding all these ‘pretty’ materials and placing them in a box ready for safe keeping, we had to take photographs of doors. Yes, doors. By the end of the summer I hated them. I was sick of seeing open doors, closed doors, old doors, new doors, flipping doors!!

And yet, as I browsed through my recent photographs, I seemed to have slipped into this forgotten habit of photographing them. Shock horror! I give you… Exhibit A:

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And yet, there is the lovely old rustic charm theme going on here. And I love weathered, old, industrial or organic things, so I think I know why I took this photo. I shall let myself off, just this once.

This theme continued through the collection, and I’m glad that I rediscovered them…

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All these photographs were taken at the National Trust site Snowshill Manor and Garden which is one of the strangest places I have visited. The guy who owned it was obsessed with collecting things and the house is full of objects from all around the world from Samurai armour to bicycles.

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View of the manor.

As well as the rustic, I also like ruins, and I have amassed a huge collection of photographs from English Heritage sites. I love gothic, creepy places to visit, so ruins seems to fulfill this for me. These are some photographs of Whitby Abbey– if you have ever read Dracula, you will have already heard of this place.

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And take a look at this National Trust site, Fountains Abbey:

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The sort of place you really wouldn’t want to hang around at night! Although I probably would…if I was dared to.

And look at this beauty:

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Now this place really did give me the willies! This was at Helmsley Castle, an English Heritage site. I don’t think the weather helped to lighten the mood either. I remember wandering around this building and hearing things and I was the only person in there.

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Sinister! Well, it is a medieval fortress after all.

Another abbey- this time, Rievaulx Abbey

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There is something so romantic and frightening about these places, and I think that is what attracts me to them. Another place which reflects this, is the burnt out Witley Court. Once a grand nineteenth century manor, it suffered a terrible fire in 1937 and is now an open shell to explore.

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I like revisiting old photographs, and it really proved worthwhile today- I rediscovered some beautiful forgotten places. I might stay clear of doors for a while though…

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