Just at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, whilst on my solitary walks in the local woodland, I began to really notice the debris and artifacts that had been left amongst the trees. So I decided to start a project to document the impact people have had on the woodland environment whether through play, neglect, abandonment or deliberate fly-tipping.
With lockdown in full force, I felt that if I took my camera with me on my 1 hour daily exercise walk, I could take my time over a number of weeks to cover most of the quiet, lesser-used paths of my local woods searching out the debris and artifacts that had been abandoned many years before.
Some of the items I discovered had a beauty all of their own with fading paint, rusting metalwork or aging decay. In my photographic depiction of the “Skeletons” I wanted to give them all the same look and feel using the same hues and colour palette. I felt that the contrast of rusted metalwork against the woodland foliage worked particularly well. My intention is to show how nature, over the passage of many years, is gradually drawing the metal back down into the earth.
There was some comfort in seeing the rusty metal items. Most of the them were less than a hundred years old, some less than twenty and virtually all were showing some fairly advanced rusting. So for most of these items it may not take many years for them to degrade down to unrecognizable patches of mineral rust. The plastic items of litter were a different matter altogether and a little more disturbing. This is because as we find out more about plastics in the environment we learn that they will persist for thousands of years and much will enter the food chain as microplastics. We don’t yet understand the long-term damage this may cause.