This delightful little book is the fourth in the Country Life series that examines work made in response to the George Garland collection of photographs, held at the West Sussex Records Office in Chichester.
David Johnston has been walking and photographing in the rural area around Petworth, West Sussex for over a decade. Like George Garland, who worked as a photographer in and around Petworth from the 1920s to the 1960s, David Johnston is self-taught.
Born in Chichester in 1944, Johnston was the stepson of a Sussex farm labourer and himself became an agricultural labourer. He now lives in Hampshire, where he works as a painter and decorator and maintenance man in a home for people with mental disabilities. However, he returns frequently to the West Sussex countryside to walk and take photographs.
Another similarity with George Garland (who would carry 19th century smocks for 1930s countrymen to pose in) is Johnston’s commitment to the preservation of the rural landscape, and his assiduity in making photographs in which no traces of the modern world are evident.
In Long Walks, 11 of Johnston’s colour photographs beautifully capture the essence of the English countryside as we most often picture it. They are accompanied by extracts from Johnston’s own diary from early 1991 and by a botanical glossary.
Also available from Cornerhouse in the Country Life series: Noblesse Oblige: Chris Harrison; Numbered Portraits: George Garland; Very Miscellaneous: Joachim Schmid.