Fishing fleet at Newlyn harbour

Lost Freedom: The Landscape of My Childhood

The Landscape of My Childhood is a reflection of my childhood environment through my adult memories and in a child’s attitudes. This project explores my childhood relationship to the environment from actual, and retrospective, point of view and memories of a freedom that has been lost to me.

Perhaps it’s my age, a years shy of sixty, or perhaps it’s something else of which I’m unaware but lately I have been reflecting on my childhood and piecing together my memories.  From talking with my peers, almost all the adults identified the most significant place in their childhood as being the outdoors. 

If my parents had been asked where I was during those hot summer days when I was growing up they could only have said, “in the park” or perhaps “in the plantation woods”. They didn’t know what direction I had set out in and the only expectation they had of me was that I would be home by tea time.  It wasn’t that my parents weren’t caring it was just that living in a small town everyone looked after each other (and although then I didn’t know it then) everyone knew everyone and that made it safe to wander.  I never left word where I was going because I never really knew where I would end up. Our childish plans were quick to change and our discoveries and adventures couldn’t be predicted by me or my friends. 

Growing up in a small rural fishing village gave us the illusion of being free to wander far and wide, but in reality nothing was really that far away from an adult’s eyes.

Should we have not returned for tea on time, or was needed home, parents would rely on the adult jungle drums, being Mrs So-and-so or Mr Whatshisname, who would have seen us playing and point them in the right direction, or a shout from a passer by saying “Paul Murt your mum is looking for you, get yourself home quick”, and off I would run.

In documenting these memories as images the space that I photograph may have changed but my memories of this area still remain imbedded into my adult mind.

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