Hinterland definitions :
- a region lying inland from a coast
- a region remote from urban areas, a region lying beyond major metropolitan or cultural centers
West Penwith is a region in the far west of the United Kingdom.
The region is surrounded by ocean, so does not meet the first of the above definitions, but the coastline is wild and ferocious and is a natural barrier to serious travel. As the most westerly region of the UK it wholly meets the second consideration.
The following photographs depict something of its characteristics, focussing mostly on its historical mining perspective, but also exploring other factors which encourage me to return to the region.
These photographs depict a post-Christmas St Just, though the mist and the cloud remain impenetrable over the community.
Whilst in St Just I listened to a radio show presented by the BBC film critic Mark Kermode where he and a fellow presenter reviewed movies which had referenced dream sequences as a major part of its narrative and discussed directors who had purposefully used dreams to impart symbolism and ambiguity. Alfred Hitchcock, Luis Bunuel, David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman and Pedro Almodóvar are some of these directors, several of whom integrated the visual landscape of Salador Dali. Reality becomes displaced, distortion prevails and often surrealism, Freudian and Jungian semiotics predominate.
The mist over St Just may contribute to a similar experience within that landscape. Mist reduces contrast and dilutes colour; it compresses experience rather than expands it, and distorts and alters reality. Mist contributes to a brooding, obsessional experience, of a landscape constrained both by the physical limitations imposed by weather and by our own imagination.
These photographs were taken either inside or in close proximity to the churchyard of St Just Parish Church.
Here is a selection of photographs taken from 20th to the 24th of December 2023 between the town of St Just in Penwith and the hamlet of Morvah. On each of those days a bank of cloud hung over the region, and a cold, strong wind blew in from off the Atlantic ocean. The photographs are deliberately presented as darker to better match the conditions.
These photographs are the most recent images in a continuing photographic depiction of the region, focussing mostly on the tin mining heritage found here and partly portray a Community readying itself for Christmas.