Adrian Pinckard
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growing up in the countryside

Growing up in the countryside is a myth - I didn’t. Some years ago I moved to rural South Northamptonshire after having previously been a “townie” all my life. One symptom of this relocation is that for some time now my pictures have been concerned with dealing with this change, a breaking of preconceptions and an attempt at a deeper understanding of my new environment and my place within it. Much of the work is based around recurring themes such as childhood recollection (or at least a personal myth of it) memory, mystery and metaphor. My pictures are also a celebration of just simply and quietly existing in a certain place and time.

Many of my pictures are made in certain places which fall into that “no man’s land” between the purely rural and urban - where the two overlap. Such places are often overlooked, forgotten or neglected or are just waiting for something to happen. The places are almost always fairly local to where I live, and I return to them again and again with an almost ritualistic regularity, building up a familiarity until somehow they become a part of me and I them. As a child I sought to escape my immediate urban surroundings to play in just such places which have now long since been turned into industrial parks or housing estates under the relentless yet inevitable urban expansion.

I actively avoid making pictures of subjects or places that most people would consider photogenic, picturesque or beautiful in any traditional sense. Such places are of no interest to me visually because what is photographed is obviously and unequivocally, the subject and therefore entirely what the images are about. In my pictures however, the subject content is not necessarily entirely what the pictures are about! This sounds contradictory and difficult to accept, particularly with photography which, because of its power to record the surface appearance of things so accurately and with such fidelity, we have learned to accept as so called “truth”. In a way, I am trying to find a personal truth by exploiting this widely accepted lie.

Over time, my visual exploration and discovery of my new surroundings, coupled with the realisation that the countryside is far from wild or idyllic but in reality a man-made, controlled environment became synonymous with an ongoing personal introspective re-evaluation. The slow unravelling of the myth of the “idyllic countryside” has for me become inextricably linked to a realisation of my own personal human limitations, of ageing, fallibility and mortality – a true sense of “growing up”. The work has become closely analogous to a visual allegorical journey of self discovery and analysis.

Much of my recent work uses Polaroid SX 70 film. I use this format because I like the instant feedback it provides and the small size of the image which gives a degree of intensity and encourages a certain intimacy which for me is an important factor when engaging with the work. They are unfashionably small, quiet images which require close, intimate examination and a degree of looking into rather than just looking at. These are qualities that the pictures themselves share with the places in which they were actually made.

Adrian Pinckard

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