‘Rural’ a Photographic Essay by Justin Greetham. In Association with the Andrew Sproxton Memorial Fund and the Impressions Gallery, York. Exhibition Opened by Lord Down 6pm 25th March 1992
Picture North Yorkshire through the reverent words of a tourist brochure :
“The Yorkshire Dales, a natural undiscovered wonderland of rolling hills , spectacular limestone cliffs, gorges and streams, mountains and reservoirs .......Herriot’s land of serene splendor”
Stop, Stop, Stop. Is this the true portrait of the rural broad acres or is there another very different picture as seen by the local community ? Yesterday’s idyll is today undergoing a transformation as need and greed via for supremacy. Battered barns are knocked into designer houses ; cottages are snapped up as second homes ; farmhouse are turning from bread and butter farming to a bed and breakfast existence . The pressures on agriculture are indeed taking effect. Within an agrarian revolution that has seen the downfall of many of Britain’s beef farmers, the upland shepherd clings to his livelihood by a thread.
With hands that bear the scars of a Yorkshire well worked and with eyes that hold the images of a flock well shepherded these traditional codes seem out of place amongst a system that preaches efficiency and haste. It is imperative that we recognize this 'animal' relationship and a unique bond between farmer, flock , herd and litter.
A bond that alas does not surface within the more intensive factory farming systems that today are responsible for the consumers concerns in British meat . A fear for the future, a pride in the past , a disapproval of mass production 'Rural' is a unique look at a very real agrarian crisis.
Exhibition dates 14th March. 25th Sept 1992 - Curated by Paul Wombell.