Embarking on a new book is at once fused with excitement yet tinged with a little apprehension; those initial photographs being the first steps on what seems like an impossibly long journey. But as each image is seen and captured and the body of work balloons, I feel myself transported to that glorious end; ample material for a whole new book.
To have embarked on this book with a friend was immediately comforting. We both knew the vision we were striving towards and went about our business, dare I say it, almost telepathically. I knew what Jamie would write and he knew what I would photograph; a happy symbiosis. It never really felt like work, more a guilty indulgence.
And to work on a book in your own beloved back-yard is magical. Jamie and I are natives of this peninsula and have an abiding love for Pembrokeshire. People with an attachment and passion for their locality in which they grew up inevitably view their turf as having a particular beauty. And so it is with Jamie and I and our particular interpretation of Pembrokeshire. It is a jutting land of rugged sandy coves and plunging cliffs, rolling hills and rocky tors, undulating pasture and busy farms, hugging villages and tiny towns, all bisected by the empty and fill of the unfathomable depths of the Milford Haven Waterway and Cleddau Estuary.
And so off we went down the high-hedged lanes, across open hills, and over water, pen and camera loaded, and for the most part blessed with sun on our heads. And the result of all of our weak labours is ‘A Year in Pembrokeshire’, a hymn of praise to the place we call home. It is a book about people and communities set within a beguiling landscape. It is a book about lives lived out on a weather-blasted nub of Wales poking tentatively out into the Irish Sea. It is a book of hope and contentment set against a world that speeds up with each passing year; a world in which big business tells us we are all the same and want the same things in life. This book soundly rebuts that bland vision.
Finally, this is the book Jamie and I have always wanted to do. It is our personal homage to the place we call home. It is a celebration of the people and landscape of this tiny spit of land on the western edge of Britain. If in a hundred years’ time someone were to pick up a battered copy we would hope that they might be afforded an insight into a bygone era that shines a ray of happiness into their own contemporary existence.
The book is published by Graffeg and is available from bookshops and David Wilson Photography.
Join Jamie and David in conversation about the book at the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven on 19th July.
You can also catch them at the Llangwm Literary Festival on 11th August.