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Thérèse Monaghan is a third-year history student at Lancaster University. Her moody and dramatic shots of the Lake District National Park, Edinburgh and Heysham Beach showcase the raw beauty of the North, inspiring other students to get out and explore the areas around Lancaster. I interviewed Thérèse about her love of capturing the local landscape on camera, and here’s what she had to say.
First up, the inevitable question: what do you use to take your photos?
I switch between using my iPhone XS and my Nikon D3300 camera to take most of my photos.
Nature and dramatic landscapes inspire a lot of your photography. Do you think that moving to Lancaster and the North has influenced your shots?
Yes, definitely! I’m from Southampton, and there isn’t a great deal of countryside near where I live, so moving to Lancaster for the university has been a massive change in the landscape. I love living in the North and experiencing the raw beauty of the surrounding countryside; it’s so refreshing being away from the city and taking in the natural scenery. I think for me, moving to the other side of the country has made me eager to explore and see as much as I can.
Your travels with the History Society and Catholic Society have taken you to many places across the North. Which would you say has been your favourite place to photograph?
My favourite place so far has to be the Lake District- there is just so much to see, and the views from the mountains are incredible! Walla Crag is particularly lovely; it’s a fairly easy walk, and it overlooks Derwent Water and the Vale of Keswick. In two of the featured photographs, the view from the top is pictured on two different occasions. There is a juxtaposition that emerges between the domineering bleakness of the rugged terrain and a gentle sense of lofty grandeur in the landscape.
Photography is very much about capturing the moment. Being a history student, do you often think about the history of the landscape as you’re capturing it in photographs?
The Lancashire and Cumbrian topography has witnessed a vast and rich history from the first signs of human settlement 5000 years ago, too early mining activity in the 12th century, the defiant resistance to the Reformation, the infamous trials of the Pendle Witches in 1612, and its influence on the emergence of great writers such as Ruskin, Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter to name a few. Studying history has given me a deeper appreciation of the present moment, and in a way by taking these photos, many of which I have printed in a scrapbook, I am creating my historical account of my time in Lancaster.
In this way, I am somehow participating in the wider history of the landscape and how it has inspired many significant figures over time. For example, the beauty of the Lake District immensely influenced John Ruskin, and this sense of awe is present in many of his successive works. It is interesting to observe then that Lancaster University is also home to the Ruskin Library (which is well worth a visit) – that the culture of the university is deeply embedded in the wonders of the surrounding environment.
Thérèse’s photography can be found on her Instagram account @trezz_
Would you like to see your work featured in SCAN? If so, please contact Catherine Rose at email@example.com