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Utkant

 

Struan Gray

 

 

"Utkant" is a Swedish word which a literal translation would render as "the outer edge".  It is used to denote the fringes of towns, where they dissolve piecemeal into the countryside, and also when talking about the situation of those who are not fully part of mainstream society.  It has the same resonance as "the margins" in English.

 

I started to take my own photography seriously when I became a parent.  Prior to that I had loved to snap away while travelling, mountain climbing and exploring, but the responsibilities of fatherhood - and, it must be admitted, increasingly painful knee joints - dramatically reduced my wanderlust, and the opportunities to indulge it.  With the restricted geographical compass came a concentration on the local, the small-scale and the immediate, and a desire to do more than just snap.

 

I have spent many hours pushing a pramfull of sleeping children around the margins of our town.  I often ended up in areas of semi-wasteland, much loved by dog walkers, birdwatchers, and joggers, but generally avoided by other photographers - and, for that matter, other parents.  I learned that a man pushing a pram is invisible: people would lean in and gaze dopily at the sleeping babes, but say nothing to the full-size parent at their elbow, sometimes not even making eye contact.

 

These photographs express some of the curious mixture of isolation and intense closeness that I felt as a peripatetic father.  Closeness to my children and in the family nesting hole atmosphere at home.  Isolation from the people around me, my work colleagues, and almost all our friends without children.  These were far from the only emotions I experienced as I strolled by my daily round, but they were among the most intense, and surprising.

 

At the Office

 

 

 

At the Gym

 

 

 

The Millpond

 

 

 

Swan Prints

 

 

 

Footprint

 

 

 

Shredded Willows

 

 

 

Blackthorn Clippings

 

 

 

Hawthorn

 

 

 

Cow Parsley

 

 

 

Bindweed

 

 

 

 

 

 


Images and text copyright © Struan Gray 20032016.  All rights reserved.