So glad to have discovered Francis Hodgson’s missives on photography. Invariably sensible words and interesting thoughts that push my own understanding that little bit further. This post is a good example…

Francis Hodgson

Years ago I formulated a serviceable description of the great British landscape photographer Fay Godwin as being largely interested in places that had once been more important to people than they now were.  It didn’t apply to everything she did, but it was a start.  Fay was never interested solely in what the land looked like.  She was interested, if one can put it this way, in what the land meant.  She read landscapes for their old palimpsests: the layers and layers of stories each of which had left a trace to be unearthed by an eye as sensitive as hers undoubtedly was.  It was archaeology without spades.  She photographed drovers’ roads knowing that half the population today aren’t quite sure what droving is, let alone where its roads had to go.  She photographed the great stone circles at places like Callanish, knowing that there is nobody alive who knows…

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Bridge Gazing

Wandering in the lower reaches of the Ouseburn Valley here in Newcastle, it’s impossible to miss one of my favourite locations — a spot where a collection of fine bridges has spanned the valley in some way shape or form since the 18th Century.

To stroll among these marvels of civil engineering is breathtaking, a sensation akin to gazing at an art gallery laden with Old Master paintings.

Byker Bridges, Photography by Jack Lowe

Byker Bridges, 2003

My favourites are the 280 metre 1839 railway viaduct and the 800 metre long 1982 Metro light-rail bridge, both from very different times but both individually stunning.

I’ve really missed having access to this part of our local habitat…

Over the last couple of years, the railway viaduct has undergone a £10million refurbishment during which time the surroundings have become a no-go area; a scaffolding-clad 24/7 hive of bustling industry.

Metro Bridge, Photography by Jack Lowe

Metro Bridge, 2003

We’ll be able to wonder among this gallery again soon, however, as the scaffolding is finally coming down.

The rejuvenated viaduct looks truly resplendent in its new raven-black coat.

Ouseburn Viaduct, Newcastle upon Tyne

The scaffolding comes down, March 2013

The Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne, Google Earth

The Ouseburn Valley as seen by Google Earth (the railway viaduct is still covered here).

In a couple of years or so, when the scarred landscape has had time to recover, I’ll look forward to rephotographing this favourite spot…

— Signed Prints

I make prints of Byker Bridges and Metro Bridge that are numbered, signed and embossed — you can buy them directly from my Cornerstone Collection.