The French know how to make wine; and they have a profound understanding of how the environment in which they grow their grapes, together with many other variables, affects the final experience: the appearance, the aroma, the texture and the taste of the resultant wine. The characteristics of a particular vineyard or growing area are known as ‘terroir’.
The vintner creatively shapes her final mouth-feel and flavouring by a myriad of choices at different stages of the growing cycle and timing of the harvest can be crucial; all of these considerations can together make a great wine exceptional. A great wine is much more than just a pleasant drink. Through it, the wine-maker communicates the ‘spirit’ of the slopes from which the grapes emerged via a single sensory conduit: taste.
This idea sits very comfortably with the ethos of fine-art landscape photography. Fine-art landscape photographers do exactly the same thing, the only difference being our choice of human sensation by which to make our translation. When we are on location, we try to imbibe the ‘spirit-of-place’ and try to make sense of some higher ‘feeling’. We drink it all in, and then, if we are lucky, we encapsulate it in a single frame, we try to capture that sense of place, flavoured with the evocative touch of time and make our translation. Much like the wine-maker captures the ‘terroir’ of the slopes and bottles it, ready to be rediscovered by the final lucky recipient; we make our own ‘capture’ and hope that the viewer of our prints has an ‘understanding’ without any requirement for verbal explanation.
Hence, the choice of title for this exhibition, celebrating many different facets of a country that has touched me many times, in wonderful ways. I hope my love for France comes across in the images, I can’t wait to be there again sipping my favourite experience: Chablis.