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Installation view
SCOTT CHARLESWORTH
05/09/19 - 15/09/19
CURATED BY THOMAS DUKES / OPEN EYE GALLERY
Our landscape changes us. Just as we increasingly shape our environment to the demands of development, fast paced transport and power consumption. Our world is drawn from childhood streets, journeys that take us to unfamiliar places or frequented social spaces filled with friends and foes who just as equally help shape our perceptions. Places get into us, and change the way we see the rest of the world.

That’s not saying that we perceive these spaces the same. Cultures can grow around shared backgrounds - but the neighborhood that someone longs to get away from can be the home you can’t wait to get back to.

Scott Charlesworth is a photographer and writer. For him, the motorway is the vessel out from the North West for study or assignments. It’s staring through the windscreen and viewfinder and wondering about what it means to come from somewhere. The 8 cooling towers of Fiddler's Ferry Power Station act as beacons during country long journeys, revealing themselves and polluting the sky with smoke, marking the home stretch.

The bridges and rivers, the flyers on telegraph poles, the warehouse parties and sense of style is all part of a portrait of a place - just as the way Scott sees this place is a portrait of him.

Scott Charlesworth volunteered with Open Eye Gallery back in 2017-18, and has undertaken a Silver Arts Award through us. He works full time in marketing in Southport presently, has produced features for CRACK Magazine, interned at LAW Magazine and studied photography BA in Falmouth University.
Installation view
Do you think your work is a personal response to this landscape, or is it an attempt to encourage others to see it as you do?

I think during the initial stages there was definitely a great deal of introspection on my part. I was faced with the conundrum of moving back home after the best part of four years. I was unsure of what I was moving back to. The strange paradox of emotion that I experienced at the time fed into my ideas and hence the title, “The Dirt I’m Made Of” was coined. I believe the body of work now stands to encourage those who find themselves in similar settings, and to look beyond the pessimism that all too easily attaches to one’s hometown.

Lots of your work is bathed in a really warm golden light. Is that because you feel very positive about where you come from?

Despite the pride I feel for my hometown, the reoccuring golden tones actually originate from the time of day that I was shooting. I would be driving back from university on late summer nights and see something that caught my eye on the way back. I’d rush home, grab my camera and then frantically shoot back before the light had faded. There was one evening that I drove past The Sporting Ford pub, the one featured in this series. It was always an establishment that I’d always been weary of, mainly because I had never seen its curtains drawn. On that evening, despite having been set alight the night before, the Sporting Ford revealed more of its battered and boarded up self than it had ever done in my lifetime of passing it by. It was a result of this that I felt compelled to look at old settings with new eyes. With these new ways of seeing now unveiled. I was now responsible with romanticising the formerly mundane.

Do the same spaces inspire you to write and to photograph - or do you find that you need something different for these two forms?

My photographs and writing are formed out of two very different ways of working. I tend to roam the places that are both significant to the community and to my own experiences when photographing. It is more frequent than not that I will head to a location and know roughly what can be obtained, and what it is that I wish to achieve. The objects that I photograph are often blatant in the way that they reveal themselves as subjects, so in that sense, my approach does not differ for the most part. My writing on the other hand is a much slower and subtle process. I often find myself frustrated with photography as an isolated medium. Words provide me the freedom to demonstrate emotion much more descriptively, and hence why, “The Dirt I’m Made Of” is a collaborative effort between word and image. I’ll overhear conversations in day to day interactions, or daydream with words as I pass Rocksavage Power Station on my M56 commute.

These sayings and emotions will then be compiled into a dystopian industrial setting, dreamt up in my head, rife with hard faced social clubs & snooker halls that refuse to let go of yesterday. 
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