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Artistic vision for landscape
Local people will work with Worth Valley filmmaker and artist Simon Warner on an exhibition showcasing the South Pennines moorland.
The renowned photographer is the latest artist in residence on the Watershed Landscape project.
He will spend several months exploring people’s attitudes towards the landscape, particularly the literary connections of the area.
Simon is focusing on Top Withens, the ruined farmhouse near Stanbury that is thought to be the inspiration for the setting of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.
The result will be a three-part exhibition combining Simon’s landscape video films on miniature screens and work in collaboration with community groups.
There will also be a photographic history showing the progressive ruination of Top Withens, showcasing iconic images by landscape photographers including Bill Brandt, Fay Godwin and Alexander Keighley.
Simon said Top Withens had a resonance of its own, not necessarily linked to the Brontes.
He said: “The more people know I’m interested in Top Withens the more they want to tell me their stories.
“It’s a special place to so many people; ashes have been scattered there and I know of at least one person who has proposed to his girlfriend at Top Withens.
“Obviously it has the Brontes link, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath both wrote poems about the site and many photographers have captured the scene over the years. But is there more to it than that?
“There’s a feeling of being on the top of the world and despite its remoteness there’s a connection with the continent, with an unbroken line direct to the Urals.
“Maybe the human desire to stand on the highest point relates to our survival instincts. I’m hoping that this survey will give us some insight into people’s motivations to make the journey and their feelings when they arrive.”
The exhibition will be at the Bronte Parsonage Museum from September 28 to December 3, coinciding with a symposium at nearby West Lane Baptist Church on October 6.
Mr Warner said: “The symposium will be an exploration of how we understand landscape.
“I have invited a diverse range of presenters to the event including a local historian, geography professor, writer, landscape artist and performer.
“There will be some people there for the intellectual ideas, some there for the art and some for the landscape.
“I’m bringing them all together and then hopefully they will make connections and share their inspirations.”
Simon is the fifth artist in residence for the Watershed Landscape Project, which is funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund and managed by Pennine Prospects.