I revisited Roche Rock today and I was just as struck this time as I was the first time by the eerie beauty of this rock outcrop and the intriguing engineering of the oratory build into the granite outcrop. As I've written before (here), I am exploring hermitage cells as signifying a 'spiritual sanctuary from modern societies, weathered relics of human solitude embedded into the remote natural landscape'. On my reccy trip (here), I'd decided I wanted to try and show the entire outcrop, rather the being close, and I would also take images of the surface patina of the rock and hermitage cell - the timeworn surfaces visualising traces of time, impermanence. I also decided I want to shoot this project in unconventionally low light which essentially minimising shadows which subsequently avoids making the subject any more dramatic than it is already. There are other spiritual connotations and contexts about shooting in the dark to create light which I will elaborate on in this in a future more specific post.

Fig.2 & 3: Nic Shonfeld, 2021, Rock patina and Charred gorse, Roche Rock Oratory / Hermitage Cell.
Fig.4 & 5: Nic Shonfeld, 2021, Rock patina and charred gorse, Roche Rock Oratory / Hermitage Cell

I went to the rock just before the sun, if it was visible was due to go down. I purposefully chose this day because the clouds were thick and defuse. I don't want to dramatise my images and I am a little worried this main image (fig.1) is a little dramatic, the clouds making so. I am not sure, sometimes I look at it and think it is on the cusp of drama, other days more and also less so. I am however happy with the images of the surfaces and patinas of the rock outcrop (fig.2) and more images of gorse (fig.4) and charred bushes that are both dead and alive (fig.3 & 5). The bushes were charred from a recent fire where dry dead gorse had caught fire.

Fig.6: Nic Shonfeld, 2021, Roche Rock Oratory / Hermitage Cell. Contact sheet scan

I experimented with some hand-held shutters speeds, which can be seen on the bottom row of the contact sheet below (fig.6). I feel like these take on a different meaning to what I have in my mind, the motion is too literal in speaking about time and impermanence.