Andy Stansfield - Photographic memories of Bowland

Bolton-based photographer and writer Andy Stansfield's enduring love affair with Bowland has inspired him to produce a new book

It is now five years since Lancashire Life featured Andy Stansfield’s very first book, also on the Forest of Bowland.

In the intervening years he has notched up an impressive 27 titles covering photography and many different regions of the UK. but Bowland remains his favourite. His new book on the area, a large format and lavishly illustrated title published by Frances Lincoln, clearly shows Andy’s fascination with these internationally important uplands is undiminished.

With four separate sections for captioned images of each season, separated by entertaining essays on fell walking, birds and the crags of the area, those who know and love Bowland will appreciate Andy’s diverse approach to both location and photographic style.

‘Visitors to the area are often staggered by the range of scenic beauty on offer,’ he says. ‘I wanted to capture both the essence and the diversity of the landscape throughout the year. It was also important to achieve a geographical spread of images, so that some of Bowland’s less well known delights, like Littledale for example, featured as strongly as the more popular locations.’

Preparation involved countless visits, some photographically fruitful and others marred by inclement weather, but Andy remembers the circumstances surrounding the capture of each image as if it were yesterday.

‘The image of the lone sheep near Bowland Knotts at dawn is a good example,’ he says. ‘It was five o’clock one morning, in the middle of August. I had already spent an hour in Gisburn Forest, listening to the whistles of Sika deer and early birdsong as dawn approached.

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‘As I approached the Knotts, early morning mist was draped over Stocks Reservoir and the valleys to the south, growing brighter and brighter by the minute, and there was a backdrop of alarm calls from the grouse. Such times are magical, assailing all your senses, and one glance at this image brings it all back immediately.’

This is why these images are more than mere snapshots. One of Andy’s many talents as a photographer is that he somehow squeezes into an image much more than a visual representation of the scene - each vista carries with it a wealth of hidden emotion and expressions of all that is being sensed at the moment the shutter is tripped.

A Year in the Life of the Bowland Fells by Andy StansfieldPublisher: Frances LincolnISBN 978-0-7112-3220-4RRP �16.99

The print version of this article appeared in the December 2011 issue of Lancashire Life 

We can deliver a copy direct to your door – order online here

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