During my couple of weeks off, Jersey (Channel Island) was my home for a while. And what a home. To sum it up in two words: Jersey is … The Shire. With beaches. And cliffs. And more.
So the idea behind this post is to provide a synthetic glimse into the beauty of this small-ish island (about 8 miles long). And rather than an expansive essay, the goal is to cover as much ground as possible in just 11 photographs.
Apparently, a simple task.
But then follow questions about which photos to select and why. What is the entended purpose of the resulting collection?
Weirdly, those questions are a lot more difficult to answer than anticipated. They are the same anyone organising an exhibition would face. But no curator is helping me, here …
Predictably, I was unable to answer those questions alone 😉
So, I arbritrarily opted for subjectivity. Partly to represent what had the most impact on me, as a first time visitor.
But that couldn’t really work, because a lot of my photographs were also made on my phone, where most of the “impactful” scenes now reside.
Since I now only use my camera for photographs I wish to post-process, for the beauty of the photo itself more than for the memory, my decision was to make a selection of the scenes that drew me to make a final print. This, to me, is a different perspective than just wanting to remember something impactful, impressive, beautiful, memorable …
It’s hard for me to put into words the distinction between a moment that had an impact on me, suprised me, made me feel some strong emotion, and another that made me want to make an artistic photo and print.
And the process is both 100% intuitive and probably only 30% accurate 😉
But this is what this set of photographs is all about. There might be scenes that are prettier, more memorable, more charged with emotion and memory. But those selected are the ones that made me want to go through with a complete creative process.
The first thing that struck me was the coastline. Being a small island, Jersey offers many sea views, and when you cycle away from one land-sea interface, you are never very far from the next.
And those come in the form of:
Each could warrant a full essay, a task I would love to have the time for.
Quiet wealth and abundance came as the second surprise. Everywhere, stone houses that would make the front cover of magazines. Everywhere, estate agents with mid to high seven figures (in GBP) as the norm, and 8 figures as more than outliers.
And nothing austentatious about it.
No vulgar, flashy cars (never has a Defender looked so much at home) no bling, no snootiness, no palpable class distinction, no overpriced fancy restaurant with meals worth 10% of the asking price. Just that tranquil oozing of quality of life. The GT40 above is my summary of this feeling, as it’s presence here was every bit as surprising as any other tangible expression of classy money. Vintage mini serendipitously in the background, and grain courtesy of yours truly 😉
Third on my list of surprises is the abundance of relics of the war (WWII).
To be honest, that brought me down. The detailed accounts of the unfolding of the early days, the testimonials … all sounded far too close to current events for comfort. All of that inspired a series of tortured abstracts that I may present here one day, but am not still sure of. It really pained me to witness how little our collective mentality has evolved over the best part of a century. Still dumb, murderous animals clinging to ideology and to one of the most abstract and 99% chance-related of all human constructs: borders.
Anywayyyy … this certainly had an impact on me, and the mood certainly led me to want to make more than phone snapshots.
Thankfully, beautiful nature abounds. And comes in at number 4.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise. Jersey’s reputation as a nature haven blessed with fertile land and docile climate precedes it. But it’s the sheer variety and beauty of it, in such a tiny location, that blew my mind. Here, a hint of Wales, there a whiff of Constable country, over there, Brittany, and on the other side, Japan. Never, not even in sublime Wales, have I felt like being in The Shire so much as on Jersey (particularly in the more rural Northern part).
And, last (btw, those are presented in no particular order), is religion and religious artefacts, including archeological sites that make Stonehenge pale into insignificance.
This is not hyperbole and a coming post will let you be the judge of the validity of this bold claim 😉
Churches, chapels, said historical sites, village names … evidence of religion is everywhere.
Would I recommend a visit? That depends on you. It’s as unflashy as it is rich. In money, heritage, culture, history. Look elsewhere for austentatious palace hotels or iconic landmarks. But the density of photographable scenes and locations is second to none, in my limited experience. And the island is a seriously pleasant place to walk, cycle or otherwise sniff out those unlimited opportunities.
For getting from A to B, I recommend cycling. But for photography, just walk. You’ll be off yor bike every minute anyway … 😉 Or get a tall car. It’s easy to stop almost anywhere on the B roads, there’s just so little traffic.
Why 11 photos? Jersey feels quriky. Jersey in 10 photographs just didn’t feel right. 12 was too Albion, and Jerries are proud to say they are not the UK 😉
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A lovely set of photos. Regarding photo number 2 , I was the Engineer in charge of the construction of the TV Tower at Les Platons and I can assure everyone that it is not leaning as it appears in your photo.
Thank you, Kevin. That’s fascinating. I’d love to hear more!
As for the tower, it would be nice to blame perspective (it is a wide angle lens, and the shot points downwards), but the horizon also appears to be slanted. Let me correct that, although it won’t fix the tower completely 😉
Done. It’s not perfect, as the perspective is very divergent, but at least the horizon is straight. Thanks 🙂
Less is more they say . And Jersey in 11 photos enough to showcase the variety of subject matter on the island. Short and to the point – without loosing the readers interest – much to my liking. As it should be on a blog – just my opinion though. Been getting the jump on us all with your insider knowledge on the monochromeaugust challenge I see. My personal favourite is the gun turrets – simple mean and effective composition. Jersey seems to be very similar to its little sister Guernsey – both have an all round charm.
If perspective really bothers you – have you tried the Lightroom transform function – to align both horizontals and verticals ? ( need i even ask ? ) I suspect however perhaps Kevin had an off day that day 🙂 or even that the wind may have been blowing over a few knots the day you took the photo 🙂
Oh deary me!! Monochrome August. Completely forgot the tags! 😉 2 comments, 2 mistakes. I fear a third, now 😉
Anyway, thanks. That’s one of my faves as well.
Not been to Guernesey, but definitely on the charts now.
I’ll blame the wind, not Kevin. He probably has technology to zap us both remotely!!
So the bourgeoisie has decamped toJersey? LOL
Island life is rarely “mainstream” and generally more interesting and personalised than life in “the big smoke” – the great cities of the world.
And they undoubtedly preserve more of the values of village life – people are more like to know each other, and look out for each other, and care about one another. All “values” that seem to get lost in the world’s metropolises.
I am quite certain that 11 no more than a random sample, a very inadequate one at that, and that there is far more to this island than has so far seen the light of day in DS.
The relics of WW2 are no surprise – the surprise is that they aren’t as prevalent as one might expect.
I was far more startled, when I found a battery – a truly extraordinary complex, including guns capable of firing heavy shells 60-100 km north, into Switzerland, to prevent invasion of Italy by the Germans in the FIRST World War.
And I believe it was started c. 1905 and completed before 1910 – long before the war started. So they must have known something most other countries didn’t!
But of course you have relics of a much earlier “invasion”, all over the place in France. Nimes, for example, with its fabulous colosseum!
As for the concept of “war” – I think it is one of the greatest failures of the human species, and gives the lie to our delusional belief in how clever we are. If we truly were, we’d never do anything so daft & destructive.
What I am more puzzled by is this statement – “I now only use my camera for photographs I wish to post-process”. Because of the inversion of the process of light, transferring from our computers or cellphones to paper, I generally take “photos” ONLY if I intend to print them. This room is awash with prints – and rejects – screens – inks – stocks of paper of all sizes. The walls are filling with prints. I cannot go out the front door without stopping to admire Strasbourg Cathedral, glowing in the light of the late afternoon golden sun. I cannot climb into or out of my bed, without seeing a 2.6 metre wide panoramic photo of Rottnest, taken from the mainland, 18 Km away. I have photo albums – boxes of prints awaiting their day in an album – and both my wife AND I are planning on putting the overflow into photo books.
I am left feeling sorry for the Hassy, and wondering what she thinks of this “neglect”. This unfaithful relationship with a mere cellphone!
The stupidity lies not in war. We are, after all prone to disagrement. The realy issue is to continue thinking that alpha primates, who get elected merely because they can bully competition into oblivion, can possibly do a good job of managing those disagrements. Or anything else, for that matter.
I don’t print much. It’s costly, not that clean, and takes up space. In fact, except for my son’s home, my parents home and my wife’s medical practise, there are very few photos of mine anywhere in the world. Possibly a handful at friends’ homes. And a few in a folder. But that doesn’t stop me preparing prints and treating some photogrphs as if they were going to be printed. Those are all made with my main camera. All others, detined to end up in small albums online, are made with my phone.
So……. I just realized what my New Years wish is. Pascal, print, print and print more!
David, that’s one of the nicest things anyone’s said to me in a long time. I am making plans for it.
I keep procrastinating. I’d like prints in a book, which can’t easily be done. And I’d like darkroom prints, which isn’t practical either.
But I’ve decided to do a run of piezo prints via the Picto lab in Paris. They’ll be 40×30 (cm, not inches) but that’s a start. That’s a realistic first step 🙂
Pascal, I will be in and out of Paris Oct 7th -Nov 17th. Side trips to Scotland and Italy but would enjoy meeting you and talk about your project. I’ve owned my gallery in Jackson Hole, WY for 21 years so might be able to offer you some advice or at least what not to do. Been printing platinums since 2006 on Arches, Kozo and Gampi papers, silver gelatins since 2002 and photogravures since 2010. It would be fun to meet somewhere and talk. On a side note, Ralph Gibson`s new book “Refractions 2” is one of the finest print reproductions I’ve seen in decades.
David, I would love to meet up. Those dates coincide with Paris Photo (Nov 10-13). Would you like to attend?
Yes, I have seen your gallery (online) and have been a fan for a long time 🙂 It would be fantastic to discuss printing with you.
I’ve been in touch with Brilliant, following Refractions 2. That’s a superb book. I’m not sure they’ll do extremely limited runs, though (that I would afford, at least 😉
All the best,
Pascal. I leave for Paris Oct. 6th and arrive the 7th. I’ll be there until the morning of the 11th then off to Edinburgh returning on Oct 26. My wife will also fly in to Paris on the same day (26th) from the States and then we fly to Venice for 5 nights. After that, Milan for a couple of nights and then back to Paris for one night before going to Normandy, November (6-9th). Well return to Paris on the 11th until the 17th when we fly back to the U.S. So…. Paris Photo sounds perfect and doable. Looking forward to seeing you. Let me ask Ted Forbes if he can get one of Ralph’s books for you. Ted and I go back a few years before he did the Artist Series back in 2015. I’ll let you know.
Thank you so much, David. That would be fantastic !!
Your trip sounds wonderful. Have you been to the places before?
Paris Photo it is, then 🙂 Let me know what date works best for you and I’ll book a flight or train to Paris.
All the best.
Pascal, I’ve visited Italy, not Scotland or France so very excited. Any of those dates are fine for me so just plan around your schedule. I have a lovely friend from Paris (Johanna) who is a budding photographer who (if possible) would like to join us too at Paris Photo. Let me know what the tickets cost ok?
David, it would be lovely to meet Johanna, of course! Philippe (who writes posts on this blog) might also join us.
As soon as tickets become available, I’ll get in touch privately. I hope you have a wonderful trip!!
Would love to meet Philippe too. I’ve always enjoyed his posts equally.
Excellent. Really looking forward to it!!
Thank you for giving me another location filled with photographic possibilities, Pascal! Eleven images is just the right amount to convey the many moods of beautiful Jersey. My favorites, although difficult to choose, are #1 because I’m a sucker for hydrangeas in lovely settings; and #5 because that stunning image is the one that makes me want to book a flight. Kudos!
Thank you Nancee 🙂 🙂 #5 is in St Aubin, one of two towns at either end of the large bay/beach in the South of the island. It’s a nice place to stay if you’re less interested in the rural parts in the middle of the island. Really beautiful.
#1 was made really close to Jersey mono 4, from the previous post. Beautiful again? And right next to a stone pub that makes lovely fish & chips. Oh how I’d like to go back there 😉
Pascal – a delightful little visual romp around what is obviously a very charming location. I’m with Ian – the gun turret is a “killer” image and there are several of the B&W images I can easily see in IR. Great Fun. Looking forward to the second instalment.
Thanks John, I’ll probably post one on an archeological site, possibly another on a series of abstracts. Cheers
Pascal, excellent images, you have made think seriously about a visit whilst in Normandy next month.
The terrific photos sparked for me the movie “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” A wonderful movie that takes us back to the Nazi occupation and how the islanders worked around it. Highly recommenced. The movie, and now your photos, have reminded me to to visit the islands.
Thank you Mel. I really want to watch this movie now 🙂