A View of the Fens from the Car with Wings
In the late nineteen-sixties, my father used to drive the whole family to the Fens north of Cambridge every Sunday afternoon. These outings in the car became a pilgrimage of sorts: a journey to another land. There was no direction or intent to the different routes that we journeyed along, we were simply responding to the landscape; exploring what seemed exciting at the moment.
We called these weekly excursions “Fen Hunting” as we noticed over time a wide variety of unusual landscape features. We were looking for things that broke the vast horizon: the shrinkage of Fenland peat and Bog Oaks, scarecrows, and the subsidence of houses cracking and exposing the foundations.
From the confines of the car, the world was framed for our view. We felt as though the car was leading the way, taking us here and there through some desire or instinct of it’s own. We went along for the ride with a spirit of curiosity and adventure. When the car stopped, we would step out and experience the magnificent views, no longer restricted by the frames of the windows. At night, the car became a ship that safely contained us and carried us back across the Fenland Sea.
Looking back, these early, aimless drives may have been the start of my photographic apprenticeship. When my father left the car to take photographs, I sat in the back creating imaginary images of my own. Since then, I have returned to the Fens with my camera for many different projects, but I always seem to take pictures from the position of being contained in my own car (one very similar to my father’s) as I had done as a child.
While the Fens may have changed over the years, my own experience of them has been one of unbroken continuity. I have been, and still am, exploring the unique fabric of the place from within the Car with Wings.
Sizes may vary slightly from image to image as we make each composition from the negative individually, either showing Richard's signature ragged edge (white border) as he prints full frame or showing the film rebate (black border) often showing the film make. Where the image size varies we adjust the window mount in order to maintain a frame size so like for like sizes can hang together.
Richard makes the c-type prints from negative in his own analogue colour darkroom in Cambridge. His paper of choice is Kodak Professional Endura Premier Gloss. When Richard has chosen to evolve the artwork, we work with Streamline Colour Lab. In our studio the print is dry-mounted to dibond which ensures a very flat image surface in both the short and long term. The prints are matted (window mounted) using a museum quality 100% cotton rag board especially manufactured to be compatible with the C-type archival Kodak photographic paper Richard uses. Richard does all mounting himself, using his precision engineering background to create the finished artwork. Eleanor fits the artworks to the frames. Traditionally photographic prints are signed and numbered on the back, accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. They can be signed on the front of the mount by request. If you would like us to make a larger artwork that is possible, the sizes listed are the largest we can make in our darkroom but we can go larger with our printing partners so please get in touch to discuss it.
Our frames are hand-made in the UK by Menor Photographic Fine Art Printing & Framing Specialists in Hertfordshire. We offer a choice of black or white wooden box frames which have depth to suit the size of the picture, the artwork set back from the glass. Our black frames are made from matt ebony stained obeche, in which you can see the detail of the wood grain whereas our white frames are made from beech and the wood grain is not visible. The wood is sustainably forested for both variations of frame. Artglass AR 70™ is a premium anti-reflective glass used by the finest museums around the world. If you would like to present you artwork in another way, we offer the choice to buy an unframed print only and can advise you on other options or recommend reputable companies to carry out the work.