My name is Rob Hudson, I am a photographer based in Cardiff, Wales. That latter fact is more important to me than it might initially appear, because as I struggle towards some form of personal philosophy for my landscape photography I find myself increasingly focusing on the local environment. It's what the writer Robert Macfarlane calls “the undiscovered country of the nearby”. I've discovered that familiarity doesn't breed contempt, but forces me to look afresh, the act becomes one of a reverent seeing, a seeing beyond the immediate to something far deeper and more precious.
I constantly have to remind myself just how infinite this thing we call 'landscape' is. Once I’d learned to see past the received wisdom of the grand vista and the notable beauty spot my eyes were open to a whole new world that I'd missed all these years. Indeed for the past few years I've rarely traveled beyond 15 minutes drive from home, and getting closer. During my whole life as a landscape photographer I've rarely stretched beyond 30 miles from home, and that primarily to rediscover the landscape of my youth around the town of Abergavenny where my grandparents lived and where my appreciation for the landscape of Wales was first nurtured.
The power of the local environment resides not in how near it is to us, but in how close we are to it. And being Wales there is a huge history of art, literature, myth and history itself to draw upon.
In works such as Mametz Wood and Skirrid Hill that Welshness is most prominent, but such close looking as only the local can provide feeds into all my work. It is the repeated visits that provide the insights, and the new ways of seeing and saying that I crave.
I believe that the photographic series is essential not only to give space to develop ideas, but also to communicate them to my viewers. The single image has become an anathema, too simplistic to contain what I have to say through my photography. When I first started working in series it was to make my work easier - so that I wouldn't have to continually find new ideas for images. But it became much more than that, and I now find the visual connections between the images in a series can develop to produce both a unity and a deepening understanding of my work. The series offers another unity, that of the connection between other series, they are never ’separate’.
My younger self would be surprised at how unromantic I have become about the landscape. Having practiced so many years of self-examination through my photography, I feel I am nearing some sort of honesty with myself at last.
My influences are diverse; painting, art, literature in poetry and prose give me the tools to work with that inspire new work. The work of other photographers, whilst unavoidable, influence me less. In the broad sweep of history in landscape photography from ’straight’ photography all the way to the New Topographics, produces a distant or even alienated representation of place. This fails to include the most important element for me - that of how we as humans relate to the land.
If I were to draw out one thread in all my recent work, it is this relationship that is paramount. And this continued search for a unity of representation, that is local, honest, un-Romanticized and yet allowing for the personal relationship that drives me forward.