ARCHIVE – HERDWICK: A PORTRAIT OF LAKELAND
SATURDAY 14 FEBRUARY – SUNDAY 19 APRIL 2015 // This fine art photography exhibition takes a year-round look at the Lake District landscape, the fell farmers who care for it and its much loved native inhabitant, the Herdwick Sheep. Photographer Ian Lawson has spent more than 5 years among the farmers and shepherds who still keep this unique and rugged breed in the high fells of the Lake District. Featuring large format prints that fill the Gallery walls and interpretation by Andrew Humphries MBE which provides a unique insight, the exhibition transports visitors to the austere beauty of the upland farms and wild grazing lands of the Herdwick Sheep. Ian presents a year in the life of this unique breed, from lambing in spring to wild winters on the high fells. The exhibition is an emotional portrayal of an endangered way of life, as Herdwick Farming becomes less sustainable. The farmers Ian has worked with struggle to endure the pressures of modern farming techniques, in the face of thousands of years of traditional co-existence with the land.
‘Before I began visiting the hidden valleys of English Lakeland with my camera, my understanding of what it means to live a life regulated by the slow procession of the seasons was limited. In a technological age, the life of a Herdwick shepherd can seem anachronistic, but five years spent observing these men and women at work has taught me that this is not so. Theirs is not a life lived out of time, but rather one deeply attuned to the rhythms underpinning our very existence on this planet.’ Ian Lawson
The exhibition also features contributions from the Wool Clip, a Cumbrian group who grow, spin and knit with their own Herdwick wool. They have produced beautiful objects that complement Ian’s photographs. Ian’s ambitious five-year project culminated in a beautiful 430-page book with over 250 images and this major exhibition which shows Lakeland on a scale and with a vision rarely seen before. The book will be available to buy from the Gallery shop along with a range of Ian’s cards and art prints and handcrafted Herdwick wool products.