Basia Bogacka

Soul of Spittal Sandstone

Spittal Beach in Northumberland has unique sandstone with complex, warm coloured strata and varied shapes.  It has been a subject of admiration and photography by many, myself included, for years.  Yet, it is only now during this workshop that I discovered its real attraction for me.  It is not just the physical appearance of the rocks.  It is much more than that.

Looking at them, I have always imagined how they were created, what natural forces were involved in this art. It had to be a very dynamic process, but the process continues with the North Sea tide slowly shaping the rocks, forming little pools, valleys, and steep gorges.  The whole scene changes every day with the sand forcefully pushed in and out by the tidal waves and wind.  This place is alive.  The sandstone has its soul.

ICM photography has helped me to discover this soul, to see more than is visible.  It helped me to free myself from a conventional way of observing nature.  It is like dancing a waltz, when everything is swirling around and the dancers later remember just an impression of the place, the soul of that moment.

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Many different miniature landscapes are created by Nature in the sandstone.  Here, a small pool of water is left by the receding tide.  The camera movement created a ghost of the pool beneath, which perhaps will materialize in the future.



We know that sand dunes move with the wind, but stone dunes move, too, just the time scale is very different.



This impression of the sandstone makes me feel I am in a desert and the wind plays joyfully around.



Strong wind often pushes sand onto the stones, not only covering but also  shaping them.

Tidal wavesTidal waves

Tidal Waves

At high tide, the sandstone is often completely covered by water.  Twice daily, waves are slowly sculpting the most amazing shapes in the stone.



When I look at this impression of sandstone, I think about the power of natural forces.



Chaos in Nature is just in our minds.



Can a stone have a soul?

It can if it evokes ethereal
and eternal feelings.

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