Horizon

Horizons a collection of photographs inspired by memories and reflections of a previous time on the high seas.

On a clear day, the horizon can be as straight and defined as a navigators rhumb line.  The line at the farthest place that you can see, where the sky seems to touch the sea or indeed the land.

To all, the concept of horizon brings its own importance and perspectives.

I have spent many an hour on the bridge of a merchant vessel, starring at the horizon.  Whether this be crossing the oceans or laying at anchor after a long ocean passage, before entering port.  Whilst on an ocean passage it could be days before one saw a break in the horizon, a distant passing ship or a squall and eventually land fall.  It was normally the case we could smell the approach of land before we saw it appear over the horizon.  Depending on the weather conditions the distance to the horizon may vary from day to day.

Before the days of GPS (Global positioning systems) us mariners depended on a clear view of the horizon to navigate the oceans.  The position of the sun against the horizon allowed us to calculate our noon position.  And again, at nautical twilight we were able to plot our position using the stars and planets.  Without a clear sky and a visible horizon we were navigating the oceans by dead reckoning.

As an artist I now see stories played out as marks on the waterline of the hulls of sleek racing yachts, plodding fishing boats and other abandoned vessels.  Worn and weathered by years at sea, or slowly deteriorating in the corner of some boat yard.  I see each hull as a visual log of voyages past.  A view of my past, a view from the distant horizon.

In making these images, I am transported back to my time as an apprentice, making and repairing covers out of canvas, the rough texture of the natural hemp, and the twine, canvas, and beeswax smell.  To this day, the scent of these raw materials is still with me; along with the rusty metal, hydraulic oil and heavy diesel pungent smells, that I associate with my time aboard these merchant vessels.

Looking towards the horizon these pervading smells fade, as does the ship’s wash that we leave behind.

37°28’N 28°36’W – Noon – 29th September 1985