The ancient landscape which includes parts of the medieval Sherwood Forest to the East and borders the Peak District to the West is home to more than 400,000 people across scores of towns and villages which pepper this land. The myths and legends that have grown out of this region have resonated through the centuries and around the world. Its tales of the green man and outlaws hiding out in the heaths and woodlands, living by their own codes and defying authority, go hand in hand with the mining communities that have latterly come to define this area of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The banding together of people to extract a living from the subterranean underworld has not only shaped the landscape but the people above and their camaraderie and community. With the disappearance of the mining industry the spoils of the slagheaps have been regenerated into plantations and the green fingers of the forest rise up once again.


I have criss-crossed a diverse landscape of villages, towns, moors, heathlands and woodlands. The images I have created are my response to this area and the people I encountered. The young woman standing outside the cave dwelling with its bricked up windows and doors tells the tale of her great-grandfather and the troglodyte community who once inhabited these spaces. Carved into the sandstone of the Mansfield escarpment they are now hidden from public view and have fallen back into the hands of nature. This seems to symbolise much of the human and industrial heritage of the area which is constantly being abandoned, reclaimed and reborn. Likewise, the image of the young boy with the ‘No Frack’ placard, in the woods takes on some of the exuberant defiance of the ancient forest outlaws or the striking miners, who throughout the centuries have stood up for their beliefs against authoritarian dictates. All the images in this project mix together the people with the mysterious landscape to create a picture of the present intertwined with its layers of rich history.


Tom Hunter, 2017


Tom Hunter’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in major solo and group shows, recently: Life and Death in Hackney, National Gallery Washing D.C. USA; Seduced by Art, National Gallery, UK; A Palace for Us, Serpentine Gallery, UK; Another Story, Photography from the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden. He has published five books including Le Crowbar (Here press 2013) The Way Home (Hatje Cantz, 2012).

This project was co-commissioned by FORMAT and First Art for Flâneur – New Urban Narratives.


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