The summer of 2019 has been one of high temperatures and dramatic rainfall in the UK. Temperature and rainfall records have been set; roads have melted one week been washed away by flooding the next. Back in December 2015, Northern Ireland, Southern Scotland, and Northern England were hit by a huge storm: Storm Desmond. Along with strong winds, a reported 34cm of rain fell on the Honister Pass in Cumbria, an enormous and record-breaking quantity. There was a great deal of damage in towns like Carlisle and Kendal, as well as in the wider landscape, where some footpaths and bridges have still not been fully restored four years later. For those who witnessed it, the storm was a traumatic event, and one that will not easily be forgotten.
In the days and months after the storm I began photographing some of the less dramatic and often quite beautiful changes that were made by floodwaters in the Rothay river valley at Rydal. It was an attempt to record the aftermath, but also to explore our relationship with a landscape that is heavily managed, visited, photographed, and written about, and yet defies our attempts to define it.
I will be exhibiting a collection of these photographs at the Heaton Cooper Studio Archive Gallery in Grasmere from October 10th-November 3rd. A small selection of pictures is here. A limited edition hardback book (in an edition of just 50) is available here.