When I heard of the initiative to clean up Windermere in Cumbria my initial thoughts were to photograph some of the debris in the style of my studioscape series. These are collections of found objects which I've arranged and photographed over the years, objects from an old forge to an artist's studio. These assemblages are an on-going project which brings back to life objects which have lain dormant and neglected for years.
The Windermere studioscape idea started that way, but in the spirit of creativity, has forged some interesting connections. I discovered to my delight that the debris was to be distributed amongst local schools and artists to create pieces of art from them. I further discovered that one of the groups of artists work from Kurt Schwitters's Merz Barn, based in Langdale, Cumbria. Although I had heard of Schwitters in passing at the time, I had never appreciated his influence and use of found objects in some of his collages in the 1940's. I was further delighted to get permission to set up my studioscapes in the Merz Barn itself.
It amazes me that there is such a variety of objects that are either lost overboard or dumped in such an iconic lake as Windermere. Thoughts of outrange are mixed with artistic interest in looking at the debris.
The resulting four studioscapes were arranged and photographed in the Barn before being finished in my studio. The scuba diver's significance in one of the images was to form a connection between the debris and the divers that salvaged it. Initiated by Paul Rose and recorded as the World's biggest debris dive, there were 262 divers in total, along with hundreds of people on-shore to help with the clean up of seven of rubbish from the depths of the lake. It was fitting to acknowledge such a monumental achievement in my images.