A long standing interest of mine has been Derbyshire’s prehistoric past. Over the decades spent walking the county, I have picked up many artefacts dating from a time long before the Roman occupation of Britain. The landscape, particularly what now forms the region’s higher moors, preserves monuments that directly relate to the flint implements and bone fragments I have gathered. Be them ceremonial or simply tools that were used on a day to day basis, they help provide a snapshot of a time so distant from our own, it gives me an appreciation of how far we have come as a species.
Over the last few months I have revisited some of Derbyshire’s stone circles with a more photographic purpose in mind. There is no doubt that many of these sites are atmospheric, particularly when no other visitors are present. Sitting amongst the stones early in the morning or at sunset allows the imagination to run away a little, becoming lost amongst academic theories and personal romance regarding their intended purpose. Whether these standing stones are religious, scientific, or simply meeting places for long forgotten communities, an undeniable fact is that to visit them, we stand on exactly the same spot as our ancestors. Only time separates us from the space we share.
It is these thoughts that drove me to try and capture in pictures a little of a stone circles’ essence. Some of the locations are fairly hidden, particularly during summer months when bracken forces them into temporary obscurity. Many are less than a meter high and some are in ruinous states, often getting overlooked in favour of more prominent examples. Trying to bring these to life photographically was an interesting challenge and my 16-35mm zoom lens became my most important asset. I found that monochrome conversions allow me to explore textures and lighting nuances that contributed positively to many of the the final results, although there were those moments at sunset that cried out for a more colourful palette to complement the surrounding landscape.