I first came across this Ian MacDonald print at the Impressions Gallery In York, and on that occasion I got a postcard of this image.
We were probably visiting my wife Jane’s sister Felicity, during her few years in the city. The Impressions Gallery was at the the time one of the few galleries where you could go to see great photography being properly treated as ‘art’. Alas we aren’t much better here in the UK 45 years on…there still aren’t many ‘photography galleries’!
Ian MacDonald is a photographer working in the Cleveland area of the North East and many of his photos illustrate the industrial nature of the area, as indeed does this one, showing Cote Hill Island at Greatham Creek in Teesmouth.
This looks like a landscape…but the overgrown island and the Tees industry in the distance certainly don’t conform to the ‘pastoral landscapes’ that still dominate landscape photography to this day. However, with the perfect framing of this image, I find myself wanting to walk into the picture and explore that place…that’s something that the most interesting photography…and painting is able to make you want to do.
I love the elevated viewpoint looking down onto the temporary looking huts on the island with it’s rickety wooden walkway and the ‘still’ but bright water, accentuated by those heavy clouds hanging over the scene.
It was part of Ian’s work around Greatham Creek between 1974 and 75 and was indeed exhibited at the Impressions Gallery in the early 1980’s and this image is on the front cover of Ian’s book ‘Images of the Tees’
More of Ian MacDonald’s pictures can be seen on his website: http://ianmacdonald.co.uk