“The history of landscape is essentially the history of humans and their relationship with nature. It’s the story of agriculture and images hewn in chalk. Industry and painting. Poetry and pathways that lead to the heart of things: Bessie Rayner Belloc romanticising Kenilworth castle; Turner painting the heat haze of Modernity; Don McCullin making raw portraits of the Somerset Levels; PJ Harvey suggesting we Let England Shake.
There is certainly a place for the picturesque, but some gravitate to landmarks hiding in plain sight, lurking beneath the invisibility cloak of the everyday and the functional. Points of disinterest. They might present a front of ambivalence, but they still play host to more legends and myths than Farrow and Balled cottages stripped bare of soul.”
I first came across the work of photographer Jethro Marshall back in 2020. It was in the ‘Juxtaposition’ issue of architectural fanzine/magazine The Modernist where a selection of his photographs were collected under the title of ‘Anti Bucolic’. This ‘Anti Bucolic, Pro Rural’ approach is one that resonates through all of Marshall’s work published through the West Country Modern imprint. From exploration of functional farm architecture through the concrete brutalism of sea defences to the vernacular of rural bungalows and village halls, Marshall’s photography takes a dispassionate yet paradoxically oddly warm look at the rural landscape. A collection of 9 of these photographs have been collated in glossy postcard form as the New Wessex Landmarks, to which I was privileged to write a piece of accompanying text, an extract of which is quoted above.
‘New Wessex Landscapes’ is published in an edition of 100 and can be purchased for £12 from https://westcountrymodern.co.uk/products/new-wessex-landmarks