Wednesday 30 July 2008

Fear and Loathing on the King Harry Ferry

The King Harry is a chain-ferry that crosses the River Fal in Cornwall every 15 minutes linking Falmouth and Truro and Trelissick in the west with the Roseland Peninsula and St. Mawes. At this point the river is deep enough to anchor ocean-going vessels at times of recession in world shipping. Both shores are heavily wooded and for the visitor crossing the wide, flat waters with only the rumble of the chains to disturb the peace, can be a rather special experience.

For the local traveller, the ferry passage is both a convenience, because it can reduce your journey by up to 15 miles, and a nuisance, because of the need to queue to get on board plus the 5 minutes the crossing takes. The photographs I took were intended to record the experience of perfect calm. On closer examination they seem to have recorded an unhealthy quantity of silent desperation. Embedded in the details are tiny images of boredom, frustration, misery and despair that rather undercut the picture of enchantment. Familiarity and routine quickly dispel any lingering pleasure and give way to alienation and dislocation.

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