<back Life Line: 1972  

''Life Line''
Life line transferred to a map of Epping Forest, and traced on the ground in sea salt.
Map and ten photographs. 60cms x 80cms

(Collection of the late Peter Cochrane. Currently owned by Jane England)

I had hoped to make this piece on wooded moorland near Malham, in North Yorkshire; partly to connect it with the first 'earth-stain painting' I'd recently made, and partly because of the emotional associations I had with that landscape. But 'finances' in 1972 weren't all that might have been hoped for, so I had to chose a more easily accessible location; essentially one that could be easily reached by public transport from north London.

But there are also a couple of observations I remember being made about the piece - both by Peter Cochrane, who bought it from my degree show, and by Ted Power*, who Peter took me to meet.

They both remarked on the 'Englishness' of my approach to 'Land Art'.

Work by American artists, such as Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer, tended to the dominate the landscape; my work was by comparison almost invisible, and destined to be 'consumed by the nature of its existence'...

And I agreed.
I had no desire to try and impose myself on nature. I was much more interested in understanding how I might relate to it; and 'transience' seemed to me to be, not only the essence of nature and of human life, but also a reason for turning to photography as a means of recording. A photograph of 'the transient' being, for me, much more compelling than a photograph of the permanent.

*E J (Ted) Power (1899 - 1993), was a pioneering collector of contemporary art and a trustee of the Tate Gallery.