Paul Moon is a landscape photographer from East Yorkshire and has spent 18 years documenting the Yorkshire Wolds - the UK's most northerly mainland chalk upland. It is known for its steep sided dry chalk dales which spread for miles throughout the area.
My images combine an early love of drawing and painting with a long-standing passion for photographing the landscape. An important part of my portfolio continues to be about the interaction between water and light in, but I’m also experimenting with movement on land and even my own progress on foot through the landscape. Facebook Flickr
It’s easy to think that if you keep going back to the same place(s) that (i) you are missing out and (ii) you will run out of ideas. There’s not a lot we can do if you suffer from FOMO but we can talk to someone who can show you that the latter should not be feared, so for this issue we’re catching up with Yorkshire-based Paul Moon. Speaking from personal experience, there is a freedom that comes from following your curiosity and concentrating your focus, and an opportunity to both discover things that you would have otherwise never seen and to develop an individual portfolio.
It’s hard to believe that a decade has passed since Tim first spoke to you in 2011, though we did catch up over some of your images in 2015. How long have you now been photographing the Yorkshire Wolds? How has your relationship with it evolved?
Hello Michela and thanks for letting me speak about my journey on the Wolds and show you some of my new work. Time is moving very quickly and I’m also surprised it was that long ago since me and Tim first spoke about my images!
I’ve been photographing the Wolds for around 18 years. I started when I had a 35mm film camera but it was only when I first started using digital that I really began exploring the dry chalk dales that are a feature of the area. That was in 2004. I had an OS map showing the areas of access land I could visit and I’d go and wander around as many as I could trying to find a way to make images of the amazing topography and ecology I was seeing.
Some of the deep valley systems cut into the Wolds stretch for miles and I had many areas completely to myself. It probably took me a couple of years to understand how the light worked, where I needed to stand, and how to frame the views.
Some of the deep valley systems cut into the Wolds stretch for miles and I had many areas completely to myself. It probably took me a couple of years to understand how the light worked, where I needed to stand, and how to frame the views. I then began to look at the intimate parts of those landscapes and explored some of the local woodlands. Plants and trees often became the focus of my work on the Wolds. I looked for areas of wildflowers or interesting hawthorn trees which are a common species in the valley systems.
The upper areas of the Wolds are quite difficult to photograph. They stretch into the distance as far as the eye can see and finding a position to photograph these views is hard work. You also need lots of drama in the sky when you photograph the Wolds upland. That’s why I’ve ended up working the valleys. The views through and along them are easier to work with compositionally and, as they are a unique feature of the area, it makes more sense to document them.
Most of the valleys are hidden from view when you’re crossing the Wolds upland. Occasionally there are dips as you travel along the roads and these are the tips of the valley systems. Once you start to walk away from the roads you soon come across and drop into these twisting steep-sided dry dales and valleys.
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