A Story Behind A Photograph by Jackson Mount

On Photography

Jackson Mount sharing a story behind his photograph, Enclosure.

This picture was made as part of an ongoing project documenting the management and enclosure of the British landscape. The project investigates signs of human intervention in nature, land ownership, and the sculpting of the rural landscape. I believe that the historic, geographic, and social implications of these are of vital importance in understanding our present-day experience of Britain.

An image by Jackson Mount

This project comes at a moment of popular retreat into nature, and as circumstances surrounding the pandemic have highlighted issues of food security, privatisation, and access to green space. Through the mapping of the British countryside, the historic nature of these inequalities that originate in the often idealised rural landscape is revealed.

This image is representative of my approach to making images for a project conceived during the pandemic, which has forced introspection and necessitated autonomy.

This photograph, like all others in this project, was taken at a location reachable on my bicycle, using a medium format camera, natural lighting, and a tripod (fastened to my bike with bungee cords for transportation), and processed by hand in my bathroom.

This particular photograph was taken in October in an area of countryside near my home in Reading. The land is part of a large privately-owned estate, located at a convergence of trails, between farmland, private woodland, and a cooperative making hemp products. Its geography exemplifies the strange and permeable relationship between private and public in Britain.

This image references the historic, geographic and social issues surrounding the British landscape. By isolating a seemingly minute detail in the landscape it hopes to convey the dichotomy that exists within the British countryside between tranquillity and aggression. Its creeping enclosure serves as a statement of discontent from the landowner at the British public’s recent rediscovery of the great outdoors, and the popular response of walkers to regular attempts to enclose this and the surrounding fields. It reveals the historic implications of the ownership and use of the British landscape and suggests that this might be the site of a future agrarian revolt, led by the Reading Ramblers.

– Jackson Mount