Bedlams Bottom has a horrific history. Escaping convicts from the prison hulks in the Thames were buried in the sands and left to die or drown. Their bodies have permanently stained the ground where they lay due to the chemical changes from their corpses rotting and apparently you can still see this today (I did`nt). Not sure if the name Bedlams Bottom is not more comical than horrific to be honest though, Bedlam does conjure up images of madness but it`s the Bottom bit that maybe questionable.
The shoot was not fun at all! Somehow this whole project is turning into some sort of guerilla style exercise in getting in, getting the shot and getting out. Not exactly conducive to calm collective thought or work. I think I am becoming pretty proficient at spotting the shots quickly though and because of the nature of long exposure I only take one or two shots of each image. At the end of each shoot I have about 10-12 photographs to work with which definitely concentrates the mind. I have yet to return to a location which once again is probably not the normal landscape artists way. Somehow to return to a place I feel would dull my initial feeling for it. The project is becoming about my intuitive response to each location knowing what I know of their histories. This way of working does mean however that there are places that reveal no final shot in the end and these are my missing places 🙂
Bedlam was bedlam. There were policemen and game wardens and angry dog walkers. It is a place I do not want to return to so I am glad about my no return policy. There were dead things everywhere I mean everywhere, ripped up and mutilated not just dead. The images I have chosen make me think of teeth, skulls and seaweed like rotting flesh. Morbid I know but a little like the place itself a horrible history and still pretty horrible today!