Into The Valley :
In April 2011 I set out on what I planned to be a year long journey of discovery; an exploration of the geography and festivals of the region in which I live, the Ribble Valley in Lancashire. Twelve months later, the journey was complete and discoveries had been made, just not the discoveries I had anticipated.

My initial expectations were that I would travel the largely rural landscape, visiting the various fairs and fetes that constitute the celebrations within the farming calendar. Add to this the daily life experienced within the two small towns and numerous villages and hamlets in which the population gathers and I hoped to discover what life here was about, whilst also becoming more integrated into that way of life.

However, the combination of my upbringing amongst the "kiss me quick" kitsch of the seaside town of Blackpool and having to spend large amounts of time outside of the Ribble Valley through work, this hoped for integration has not happened. Whilst it sometimes felt like I was getting close, in truth I remain a commuter living in the countryside. This project reflects the fact that I am left looking from the outside at what lies within. Rather than creating a work of integration, it is of observation.

This observation has nevertheless led to discovery, not of the Ribble Valley, but of myself. I now know more of my photography and what it says about me. Having set out to photograph in a way that wasn't completely within my character, my natural "way" came to the fore and whilst the end product is not what I had originally intended, it does still say something of the area and the people, but is actually more of a metaphor about me and the photographic road trip I had undertaken.

Rob™, 2011-2012

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