Rob Hudson


Born in the Rhymney Valley in 1968, conceptual landscape photographer and photography writer Rob Hudson now lives in Cardiff. He has developed a vision for landscape photography that embraces ecological concerns and seeks to develop our appreciation of our land through sharing the stories we tell each other of the experiences of the land. Immersing himself in his local surroundings enables him to both develop new ways of expressing these experiences and to critique the way landscape has hitherto been portrayed.

His work is often influenced by poetry, which allows him to explore ideas about metaphor and narrative in his photography. In 2014 he was the first to realise the significance of the photographs made by the poet Edward Thomas during his 1913 journey from London to Somerset that became Thomas’s prose work In Pursuit of Spring. Little Toller Books subsequently republished an edition of the book including those photographs.

He is a co-founder of the landscape photography collective the Inside the Outside group whose stated aim is to ‘mediate the liminal space between the words before and within us’.

He has exhibited across the UK and he has written extensively for a wide range of books and magazines.


Mamtez Wood

“And so to midnight...”

Welcome to Mametz Wood. This isn't the actual wood. Nor is it July 1916, the date of the First World War battle of that name that claimed thousands of lives in a futile fight for just one square mile of woodland in northern France.

This is a world where something has gone terribly wrong with our vision of the landscape, where fear stalks the mind tortured by the experience of war. And yet, there is something magical about this place, as woods are, could it be a salve to the pain and anguish, or is it simply more evidence of gathering madness?

Long after the war, in 1937 at the dawn of another world war, David Jones published his long modernist poem In Parenthesis. Where he recounts his experience of WW1 in the Royal Welch Fusiliers culminating in the battle of Mametz Wood. Unlike the industrialised slaughter we habitually associate with that particular war, much of the battle was hand to hand fighting with bayonets and much was after dark.

Jones’ story of remarkably ordinary men with remarkably ordinary lives (most soon to end, violently), is interwoven with mythic encounters from ancient British and Welsh folk tales and mythology. It's not a heroic work, as might be imagined, but the heroism of past stories acts as a counterpoint to the grim reality of modern warfare. It also lends a surreal grandeur to the wood, to the place where so many of the fallen men sacrificed their lives. The place becomes a kind of tribute to those that died, suffered or lost friends and family.

In my series of photographs for Mametz Wood I have taken David Jones’ poetry as a starting point to explore the effects of war on the mind. Using double exposures to both disturb reality and create a strange, surreal landscape that explores the experience of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or what was then known as shell shock. We can't be sure what is real and what is imagined, just as the victims of PTSD cannot help vividly recalling the terrible memories of what they experienced.

“And so to midnight and into the ebb-time when the spirit slips lightly from sick men and when it's like no-mans-land between yesterday and tomorrow and material things are loosely integrated and barely tacked together.”
David Jones, In Parenthesis.