I do find I get something from re-visiting places, but I also like to go to new ones - partly for all the obvious reasons and partly because new subjects throw up new challenges. But familiar subjects can throw up new challenges, of a different sort, too: like how to find a new way - or a better way - to portray them.

One of my recurrent themes is the field across the road from my own front gate. The light on this field is so often beautiful and I love a number of the trees that stand in it. I have photographed this one field so many times, but I still feel there is a lifetime's worth of images still there waiting for me. This is quite an important 'anchoring' thing for me.

There is a particular place in Wales that is slowly beginning to acquire a similar power for me as I photograph it again and again.

In a different way, I tutored on a retreat at a place in January of last year and they asked me back in April of this. They've already booked me for August next year and have made enquires about October in the year following. This was their idea, not mine, but I am really excited by this idea of going back in each season of the year. Even after just two visits I've found I produced some very different work - seeing things that I hadn't seen the first time or that hadn't worked in the light of a different season, and finding new ways to look at things I had photographed before. Sometimes, with the things I photographed both times, my initial vision has proved to be the best, sometimes the second one has been an improvement.

This idea of both looking for new things and re-visiting familiar ones doesn't only apply to landscape. I do a lot of still life and a proportion of this is done with plant material much of which I grow myself. Several times I've found that I've photographed something I've grown, and then the following year when the same plant is at the same stage of leaf/bud/flower/whatever I've thought of a different way of interpreting it. Sometimes I've thought of it after looking at my films and then had to wait another year for the plant to flower again.

I do think that the quality of work I produce each time I go to a new place is improved by, and builds on, some of the things I learn when I work in or revisit familiar places.


Peter