Friday, 7 October 2016

What a tangled web...

I've never been a fan of spiders. I grew up in a thatched cottage on a farm in Wiltshire, which sounds idyllic until you factor in the rats, mice and spiders that lived there too. Consequently, rats and mice don't bother me at all. In fact, I have captured and released three mice this week! Spiders though...

I moved to Dungeness over two years ago and I had stayed here many times previously so I knew the score. It is impossible to avoid spiders on a nature reserve; I even find them living in the oven! Around this time of year the huge ones make their way indoors, so big you can hear them rustling in the corner as they set up the TV remote and unpack their ornaments.

I recognised that fear of spiders is merely a response to one's own thoughts and perceptions so I decided to change my perceptions and 'befriend' a spider that lived behind the radiator. I made sure that the vacuum cleaner didn't accidentally suck it to oblivion and I made a point of checking that it was 'okay'. The advantage to this is that you always know where they are! One day, after a vacuuming session, I couldn't find it and I felt some concern until it appeared, looming above my bed. Not too close, Charlotte...

Imagine my delight when Paddy said to me: "There are some fantastic spiders' webs out on the gorse today. You should take your camera and have a look". I duly obliged. What I found was an extraordinary, ethereal, other worldly shroud of gossamer. The gorse was encompassed in a white sheet of silky strands, which held droplets of water from a recent shower. I became completely engrossed in capturing the scene, and in the end, I took 86 photos.


The raindrops held within the gossamer appear to be suspended in the air and I have been able to highlight that by simply changing the colours to bring out the contrasts. The resulting photographs have a cosmic look about them and many look like blood cells under a microscope. This has got me thinking about designing a book around them, to a theme that is close to my heart. Maybe I can grow to love spiders after all! Watch this space!