I am currently working on a new body of work called Altered Landscape which explores the impact of historic mining in Cornwall on the land and local communities. The project is a deeply personal exploration connected to my Cornish heritage and a set of found objects that I discovered in 2011 after the death of my father who was a miner.
During the months leading up to his death, he had carefully curated a picture of his life and career in the form of a family photo album and a folder that contains ephemeral mining material.
The family album is a largely unexplored personal, social and historical phenomena which are rapidly disappearing in this digital age. Its exploration here during the project provides scope to enable us to use it to help us bridge the gap between memory and reality to unveil truths about ourselves, where we belong and the human experience.
The project actively seeks to disrupt the photo albums frozen visual imagery that can often be an unreliable guide to understanding the past. Instead it takes several photographs and retraces my father's footsteps at a number of former mining sites in Cornwall. The work seeks to use these old photographs to explore the legacy of mining through a contemporary lens.
The new body of work will include a collection of photographs and cyanotypes which will be exhibited in the Altered Landscape at The Shaft Gallery in Cornwall in August 2021 - details will be available here.
This is an independent project supported by Arts Council England and a Feast grant will provide opportunities for an activity programme alongside the main exhibition.
Photographs top left and bottom:
Clwyd cap covering an old mine shaft, Wheal Busy, United Downs (2021) Tracey Thorne.
Reflections, Robinson Shaft South Crofty Tin Mine, Pool, Cornwall (2012), Tracey Thorne.