The commodified power of landscape in carefree Cornwall

Beautiful Fowey

A recent camping trip to Cornwall was just the ticket for a sun-filled week of rest and relaxation. However Mr Rain decided it was his turn for an outing which hampered much of our outdoor eating and drinking.

We didn’t let this dampen our spirits for long though as it’s still the perfect destination for anything outdoors and you can never quite get bored of the sublime morning dawn or perfect evening calm in a quiet field by the coast. The crisp fresh air always seems to make you sleep deeply too (unless you have a noisy neighbour snoring blissfully unawares in the tent next to you).

Going away and being back to basics always reinvigorates my love for the landscape time and time again. Wherever I go, no matter how busy or quiet there’s a certain beauty in every landscape I see and there’s no shortage of picture perfect views in Cornwall. We travelled from Dartmouth, making our way down to the fishing villages of Looe, Polperro and Fowey before hopping across to Padstow and bustling Newquay. Cranking it even further to the arty depths of St Ives and the gorgeous St. Michael’s Mount, before a charming end at Lanhydrock gardens in central Bodmin.

All these places have a lot of things in common and beyond doubt is their exclusive pull in getting tourists flocking to these places. Never have I seen so many people taking the ‘perfect image’ of their favourite view… or views, time after time moving along, photographing the same identical spot. I’m guilty of doing this myself many times. However it becomes more apparent to me that we have commodified the landscape and packaged it beyond compare. An object to be purchased, consumed and even brought home in the form of postcards and souvenirs. Whether it has been put there by physical transformation like the National Trust's victorian gardens at Lanhydrock or found in a place that’s naturally formed like the island at St. Michael’s.

Our landscape is as precious as ever. It’s an endangered species that needs our protection. A ‘shrinking wilderness’. We may frame it and put it at centre-stage but its important not to forget that we don't own it and it is beyond price no matter how we dean to package it.

I love Cornwall with its infinite number of picturesque fishing villages, great beaches and amazing light but why can’t we simply enjoy it in the moment rather than artificially looking at it through a camera lens all the time!

(The landscape is)… A source of pure, inexhaustible spiritual value.”

Landscape & Power, WJT Mitchell

I leave you with some of the flower pictures I took at the superb (yet man-made, constructed) Lanhydrock gardens...

Please take note that your art may flourish from reading this blog :)


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