Work > Photography > Hey Charlie

Book cover 2013 

'Harry, Bryan and Central Poplars. Smoke and 130 foot Mine'

Harry, Bryan and Central poplars. Smoke and 130ft mine. 2013

These poplars dominate the centre of the field. They were planted by my father 50 years ago and needed a fairly bold approach to show how magnificent they have become. Bryan and Harry, a friend from home of many years, are there pressing the buttons to fire the rockets and smoke grenades. The river is in the background... the orange glow in the sky is the lights from Farnham town

Hey Charlie

From Francis Hodgson’s article in 2013
Hey Charlie is a celebration of fifty years of Cory Wright's involvement with a particular bend in a river and the field beside it. These joyful images are the culmination of a lifetime of experience of the place in which he grew up and to which he has stayed connected throughout his life.

As reflected in the title. Cory Wright calls his brother’s name - a child's shout, an adult's beckoning - to coax him into causing a stir in a place they know so well. They are allowed once again to be little gods. They create interruptions in the otherwise placid landscape; set off rockets into an evening sky; peer inquisitively into a haze of smoke creeping around a river bend. These striking and transient impulses, and the photographs in which they are captured, were intended to shake off the burden of the past and of nostalgia, and to provoke the making of new memories; to re-imagine, reshape and reawaken a much-loved place.

Read Francis Hodgson’s full article here 

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'Astral Rocket - 2nd Attempt'

The project was punctuated by this moment of letting a particular set of pyrotechnics over the main wood. It was a cacophonic moment out and above and only served to exaggerate the intense sense of ‘within’ felt under the canopy of these oaks.

   'Vine, Rose And Hop At My Bedroom Window'
Vine, Rose and Hop at my Bedroom Window. 2013

'First Smoke Flare Into The Alders'


Folly Black and White Invert. 2013

Near to the house where Charlie and I were brought up, there was a folly. Throughout our childhood it was out of bounds, as it was structurally unsafe. This only added to its sense of mystery as upstairs, with its window that looked out over the tree tops was perhaps the one single place that we never explored. I have always seen it as something belonging to someone else.... from a sort of Fox Talbot time... hence the negative aspect.

'Mirrored Orange'

Mirrored Orange Rapid 200 Shot Oak Canopy. 2013

The aim from the start was to reinvent or rather reappraise this place that I new so well and I always had the idea that this should be possible through the simplest methods; a child with ink on a page , then folded reveals a butterfly, a face etc. Here the symmetry is at times pleasing but then with flashes of demons and more. This place has always had the ability to frighten me more than any place. I am not too bad with the dark... but here somehow in the field and in its surrounding woodland I can resurrect demons and spooks from my childhood, unspecific and more imprecise than you might think... like doors that have never closed perhaps.

When talking about titles for these pictures, my brother and I kept leaning towards the Iain M Banks’ Culture series, and his spectacular names for spaceships.
They somehow get across a sense of scale and power, but also a flippancy that we reckon is quite important.  

The aim throughout this project was to celebrate the place without engaging in too much nostalgia.

Reappraise and rejoice let’s say.

'Younger Than Before'

Younger than Before. 2013

This is perhaps the bend in the river that we know best. Its where we swim, play and sit and watch trout rise in the summer. The light is from an extremely bright flare beside a hazel tree at the top of a little sandbank that takes you down to the waters edge. Again, as with many of these pictures I am hoping to create a pastoral tone (very familiar here) with a sense of prospect... forwards not backwards. Younger than before refers to lines in Nick Drake’s song ‘Place to Be’ ... have a listen.

When I was young, younger than before
I never saw the truth hanging from the door
And now I’m older, see it face to face
And now I’m older, gotta get up, clean the place

And I was green, greener than the hill
Where flowers grow and the sun shone still
Now I’m darker than the deepest sea
Just hand me down, give me a place to be

And I was strong, strong in the sun
I thought I’d see when day was done
Now I’m weaker than the palest blue
Oh, so weak in this need for you

'East Boundary Blue'

East Boundary Blue 100 Shot Snow Flitter. 2013 

Bryan came to help me with the fireworks and we had a good time in the evenings after we had been spending all day clearing out the house, setting up different scenarios around the field.

This one was near the end and we new it was going to be good before we did it. All confident and glowing in the last light of the last day. Reverent, magical and thoroughly uplifting with this
massive oak that I have known all my life being shown off once again ... in a new light.

'Blue Grenade on Grayling Bend'
First Smoke Flare into Alders and Sunlight.  2013.

This is of course across the river and looking into Alder trees. So often in the
morning the light in these trees is thick and yellow and rich... something to do
with the waxy nature of the leaves perhaps. As with all these pictures the aim is to create something allows each picture to become an event rather than just a view of a favorite place. Here it was so still that the smoke moved beautifully slowly through the branches; very gentle and full of contact. We did some other colours but the blue has always been the most appropriate... or perhaps inappropriate and therefore what we were after.

'Dew Pond and Thirty Second Smoke'

Dew Pond and Thirty Second Smoke Generator. 2013

I love the oak trees here at the bottom of the main path down to the field. We set off this smoke generator as the sun rose above the tree canopy and it really was an exceptional moment. The pond has always been a rather dark place for my brother and I... somehow separate and otherworldly; often black mud and rather damp. The idea of this on the cover, behind the title is to give an idea of dark to light, ‘Sol Y sombre’ (an old phrase of ours) ; a step out and up…. not a step out of darkness really but more a sense of the range.... everything from dark to light... the whole gamut.
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