Michela Griffith

IBlack Reedf you are looking for something positive to come out of the long wet summer of 2012 then look no further.

Michéla  Griffith’s beautiful streamscapes on these pages were created from her observations of two small streams flowing into the swollen River Dove.

Frustrated by the poor weather and forced to stay closer to home Michéla found herself drawn time and time again to the banks of the streams.

The result is a series of images all conveying a unique point in time.

“In addition to revealing patterns of flow and of the light, they show the passing of the seasons, the character of the day, the legacy of rain and the energy of the stream,” explained the landscape photographer.

The concept came to her almost by accident. She recalls that she was waiting for some walkers to move on before she took a landscape shot at the riverside and while she was dawdling she started to see other images in the water.

“The more I looked the more I saw. If I hadn’t stopped still that day I may never have thought about it.

“I have returned many times and each time is different. It’s become a challenge for me.”

She started out by collecting pictures of patterns and textures around the Dove close to her home in Longnor and now her images have become more detailed and even abstract.

“All the images are created in the field by selecting what to leave in and what to leave out and by varying the shutter speed.

“With a slower shutter the images become painterly. Trails of light recorded on the surface as lines, scribbles and pint-like splashes.
“The surface of the water softens into watercolour but retains life and detail.”

Michéla explains that the geography also makes a difference to her pictures.
A stream over gritstone in the shade of alder and willow gives pictures a darker mood with warmer colours and a stream running over limestone and through pasture creates a brighter mood with reflections of the sky and sun.

The 48-year-old artist had a childhood love of drawing and painting but at school her aptitude for science and maths meant she was steered away from the more creative subjects she hankered after studying and she eventually found herself working as a landscape architect.

She is sanguine about it and says that at least she found a career in which she combined her creative side and her great love of the outdoors – even if, with the advent of computers and spreadsheets, it wasn’t always what she had imagined.

During her working years photography became her outlet for her artistic tendencies and now she feels she is blurring the boundaries between photography and painting.

“For me landscape photography is a creative opportunity and an antidote to modern life. It gives me an emotional connection with the outdoors. With my camera and by slowing down I have learnt to see so much that I might otherwise have passed by,” she said.

Despite decades of taking pictures it was only when she took redundancy 18 months ago that Michéla was able to give more time to her passion for photography.

Her goal now is to get her work exhibited at more galleries and raise its profile.

Her streamscapes are currently being shown at the Green Man Gallery in Buxton (until June 7) and she excited at what the rest of the year may hold.

“I have tried to find a personal style and I think I have found it with the streamscapes. They are of me and my relationship with my subject matter. I hope that those looking at them may escape for a while and find inspiration and enjoyment from my interpretations of the places I have been to.”

n If you would like to find out more about Michéla’s work go to her website longnorlandscapes.co.uk

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