Strange because I love the land that fills my photographs, love the house I have lived in since 1995 and feel more settled than I ever have. But more settled does not mean wholly settled and I wonder now, at this relatively late stage of my life, whether I ever will.
This nagging sense of alienation date to the earliest days that I was aware of place and being and has waxed and waned over time. Not an entirely negative emotion, it certainly made the transatlantic jump much easier than it might otherwise have been, but if I hoped the new lands of my adulthood would vanquish that rootlessness then my expectation has been foiled. In truth, I knew this was likely to be the case.
I remain the perpetual stranger, a wanderer in an often familiar but never wholly possessed land. Fleetingly I might find myself in a state of empathy but it always shakes free. Not for me the acceptance of place and boundary shown in this photograph.
A cow in a meadow by the River Wey in Guildford. For years, I walked across that field on my way home from school or from town at the weekend. It looks tranquilly and absolutely rural, yet immediately behind me as I stand there with my camera is a main road that never seems to quiet and houses stretching up a hillside.
The sharp divide between big town and country, so common in England and so rare in Missouri, I think contributed to my sense of not quite knowing where I belonged. At the very least it revealed the stark contrast between city and pastoral life. I am sure it is significant that the places I feel most at home in these days, like the wide prairie land of Montana or the broad bottomlands of the Great Rivers, are uniform in their constancy of form and feel in every direction around me.