Guardians

Exploring contemporary relationships with nature.

 




For the subject of this project I chose to photograph the ancient trees found in Europe's largest remaining yew forest, in Sussex, England.

The site is an enduring location for pagan and druidic ceremonies, even in present day England.

 



Trees play a central role in most religions and mythologies. The yew itself was the subject of worship in druid and pagan beliefs and rituals, which were preeminent on the British Isles until the introduction of Christianity.

 

It has also been speculated that Yggdrasil, the 'world tree' of Norse mythology was a yew.

 

 

 

The atmosphere of the forest is unique.

Intertwining branches create the roof of a silent, ancient cathedral.  

 

 




Calculating the age of yews is notoriously difficult, as they can halt growth for many years if conditions are not favourable.


However recent discoveries have revealed some trees could be up to 2,000 years old.

 

This endless cycle of life, apparent death, and rebirth plays into the religious symbolism of the trees.

 

 




Evidence of the forest's continued use as a place of worship are ever present, offerings placed amongst the twisted branches.

 


I captured the images in this series on black and white film. A key inspiration was the work of Ansel Adams, specifically the photograph Jeffrey Pine.

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