Margins explores places within the Manchester conurbation frequented by few, often overlooked by many. The few that do venture into them often see them as a respite from the spreading areas of housing and development which come with living in a large city. These spots are often former industrial or landfill sites, spoil heaps, unused car parks, flood basins or land changed by development; anywhere open and away from the sight of people and traffic, and always where the greenery of nature is starting to get a hold. To some, these are the nearest thing to ‘the countryside’ readily available to them.
A look on Google Earth reveals areas of open land dotted round the periphery of the conurbation. On visiting these areas there a real sense of them not being the ‘countryside proper’ but a poor substitute; the ever present background of traffic noise, tower blocks, motorway signs and warehousing intruding upon any illusion of the idyll. The areas convey a feeling of blandness, isolation, loneliness and lack the feel-good factor of the real countryside.
Taken from on or near public rights of way such as footpaths, bridleways or national trails, the images invite the viewer to consider the idea of ‘on the margins’; be it places, individuals or groups of people.
The body of work asks the question as to what the future of these areas will be – will they be left to flourish into fully fledged natural space protected as a designated area for leisure; will they remain how they are, somewhere in limbo between reclaimed and transformed land; or will they be re-tasked, developed and turned back to commercial or industrial areas, thus forcing the users of these places to look elsewhere to seek breathing space?