I have always preferred natural lakes to man-made reservoirs for photography, however, they are dominant features of the Welsh landscape – a landscape blessed by rain as much as its sheep. Some of the larger dams located in Powys and further north have served as poignant reminders of villages sacrificed to store and channel water beyond Welsh borders into large English cities but, apart from newsworthy anniversaries of protest and ‘hiraeth’ (Welsh), the reservoirs of Wales now attract hordes of visitors to spend their summer holidays.
Lake Vyrnwy (Llyn Efyrnwy) is a reservoir in Powys, built in the 1880s to supply the city of Liverpool with fresh water. The main image (mono) features the straining tower ‘…which is where the water leaves the lake at the start of a journey along an aqueduct and pipeline to Liverpool, around 70 miles away. It is called a straining tower because the water first passes through a fine metal mesh to filter or strain out material in the water. The tower stands in over 15m (50ft) deep water and is over 48m (160ft) high.’
The head of the Vyrnwy valley was flooded to supply the city of Liverpool with fresh water. Remnants of the small village of Llanwddyn can be seen when the water level is very low.
One of my most treasured childhood memories is a walk with my father in a bluebell wood near my home.
I had been ill for what appeared weeks, experienced nothing but four walls and lost my appetite. Perhaps there were some signs of being on the mend when I showed an interest at my father’s suggestion of taking a walk in the fresh spring air but, I was yet to regain my appetite for food.
The memory of that walk and the blue carpet represented another magical experience that was to hold greater significance years later. As a child, the first experience helped me to find interest in food again and recover from illness. In adulthood, a few weeks before my father’s cancer finally extinguished what appetite he had for life, whilst walking through another bluebell wood, I phoned to check in on how he was feeling and to give thanks for my Birthday card. I suppose I knew there and then that it would be the last Birthday he would be around. He sang me Happy Birthday for the last time.
In The Bluebell Wood was created in camera in early May 2017 as a personal, emotional response to the happy childhood memory with my father. It is broken down into the fluidity of feeling, movement, light and colour and appeared a fitting acknowledgement to the four years’ anniversary to his passing.