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sometimes the trees sing photographs by andy norman


Introduction These pictures capture the poetry of shapes and the dance of the light in the woods. The attention to light owes a debt to Charlie Waite and Joe Cornish, but the photography moves away from their wild and spacious locations towards the confined, personal world of the work of Paul Hart or Nicholas Hughes. The subject of the photographs is one small wood in Hertfordshire, near the junction of the M1 and the M25. Bricket Wood is typical of many small corners of the home counties that have resisted development to remain small pockets of nature in the built up environment. And in resisting development the wood has held on to some of the magic of forests everywhere . Although in many ways typical, this wood has a history that underlines man's influence on his environment. Pollarding of the trees, done to increase the yield of wood for basket making in the 19th Century, has led to them taking on remarkable forms, almost human - dancers weaving a twisted ballet through the light. And there is a history of witchcraft here. Gerald Gardner, the founder of the Wicca religion and a close associate of Aleister Crowley, had his coven nearby, holding ceremonies in these woods in the 1940,s. Bricket Wood coven is understood still to be active, although shrouded in secrecy. Taxi drivers are reluctant to come this way. The sequence of photographs calls up the experience of walking through the forest. To turn the pages is to navigate into the wood, between dense and overarching boughs, briefly amongst bluebells, in the stillness of a carpet of golden leaves, the mystery of an abandoned jacket, ending with a light that hints at a molten core at the centre of the forest. Welcome to the woods. Andy Norman

November 2009

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Šandy norman Park Street Publishing On line Edition 2010 23

Sometimes the Trees Sing  

photographs by andy norman

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