I am relatively new to the North East of the UK that I now call home, at the time of writing it has been about 8 months to be exact. Transition is always hard and disruptive especially when moving over 500 miles to the opposite end of the country from somewhere that has been home for close on 30 years. I never really understood the so called North / South divide, and much as i would still use the term lightly, the pace of life in the Northern Counties is distinctly different from the metropolis pace the south of the UK seems to resonate.
Despite the fresh eyes and exploratory wonderment that my new home has afforded me I am still learning the area, and true to my normal remit, looking for those hidden gems to photograph is high on my list of priorities...thankfully this area has rich soil in this department, with abundant supply of interesting locations and the fascinating history that accompanies it. Much as it is fun seeking out these treasures and immersing myself in their own unique stories, sometimes you just happen upon a lucky break, and with a little digging & legwork, on occasions you are presented with a real gem.
Recently such luck was afforded me, as on a wall behind me as I stood with a market stall at a local preservation railway was an old map! Old maps fascinate me as they can hold a raft of long lost information, so always try to cast a keen eye over them for castle's or buildings of significant interest. The aforementioned map held such information, as a castle that had never cropped up in conversation was a mere 20 minute drive away from my front door. Through further discussion when I got home it appeared that the location that I had discovered was not really familiar to even the locals. This just started to fuel my interest and need to photograph the site, especially after some internet research did not really turn up much information, but one thing that was gleaned from the research was that this castle still stood virtually in it's entirety, albeit roofless, but hidden away in large grounds away from the view of the roads and largely forgotten by time.
Wanting to gain proper authorized access to the large site so I could properly spend the time needed to photograph the location in all it's glory, and without the sneaking around. I started the search to not only locate the owners, but to seek authorization to do an extensive location shoot, this proved to be a bit of running about, but thankfully someone the local authorities who had a real passion for his job in trying to get these building preserved was a great help. Although by law I could not be given the owners details, they were kind enough to contact the owners on my behalf to try and make this happen......and happening it is.
All the legwork, phone calls & emails paid off, the owners have now contacted me directly and we are discussing dates and times for my shoot, proving that with a little time and effort it really is possible to have exclusive access to very unique, long forgotten locations that surround us.
I feel that this is just the start of this particular story....one that will hopefully be graced with wonderful photos.