Ashness Bloody Bridge

Story by Andrew McGuigan
Illustration by Andy Paciorek

A pretentious photographer up from London seeks to capture a rare Lakeland sunset, whilst becoming increasingly irritated by milling tourists, a mocking farmer and problems with the photograph which may be way beyond his control...


The other so-called photographers had packed up gradually and left long prior to the approaching sunset.
Most had been tourists with easy shoot digitals, or the occasional low spec digital SLR bought by those who think themselves a real artist, but were unable to commit the funds it took to get real results. They would return home and proudly display biscuit tin clich├ęd landscapes, wowing over the differences one patronising automatic setting made over another.
These philistines thought film was a four letter word.
To Adrian the use of film and producing photographs in the darkroom was real photography. The term was "light writing", an image etched into film, revealed only after careful chemical developing. As he set up he ignored the pointing and the laughter, but did feel a touch of annoyance when he overheard one man estimating the mega-pixel capacity of the Hasselblad as ‘one pixel.’
As sundown approached Adrian was finally alone with space and peace to set up the shots he wanted.
He had the bridge, the Skiddaw hills and an almost florescent orange sky all framed.


The farmer leaned down from his seat grinning mockingly.
“Them ones? Nay, they w’ eaten this eftanoon. Live feed.”
“What on earth do you feed whole piglets to?”
“Its fa an environmental restoration project, and I gets paid fa supplying livestock.”
Dick turned off the engine again, favouring Adrian with a proud smile.
“We are involved in t’ scientific re-introduction o’ creatures lang since disappeared fraa t’ fells, aal financed by gen’rous private benefactors.”
“Ah, yes I read about some of that happening in Wales. Re populating rivers with beavers, wild cats and wolves in the forests, that sort of thing?”
The farmers eyes narrowed and twinkled with strange amusement.
“Aye. Aye, summit like that.”


The new batch developed at least confirmed one small mercy. There was nothing wrong with his beloved Hasselblad. The problem was within the source.

More than white blobs now, alterations in exposure and development techniques had revealed detail this time. Each white blob looked more like a flower head, albeit one that might have been designed by Pythagoras. Triangular petals, surrounding a diamond angled central bud or head. Thin ribbon like tendrils stretched back from each pale bloom into the impenetrable darkness of the under bridge. There was a plant like quality to the images, but multiple exposures had shown movement between shots.
He would have to check deeper under the bridge and secure or remove any of this reflective debris. Another night spent at Ashness bloody Bridge, freezing his bollocks off.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks to the Eurogamer Photography forum for Technical advice (meme, otto, prawnking, mrharvest, neilka, therealbadabing, jeepers, nexus 6, ilmaestro, salaman, tiddles)

    Thanks to Jennifer and Dick for the sterling authentic Cumbrian translation work!