5 Minutes with Henry Iddon

Henry Iddon's 'Hill People' Photography Exhibition is at Heaton Cooper Studio until 4 January Henry Iddon's 'Hill People' exhibition, part of Kendal Mountain Festival opens on 19 November at the Heaton Cooper Gallery, Grasmere

Introducing 5 minutes with… Henry Iddon..

Who is… a self employed photographer. I shoot for a range of commercial or nonprofit organisations, as well as working on my own self-motivated projects.

Tell us more… I try to find new ways or reasons to look at the mountain and upland environment. The Lake District has been photographed millions of times, but often with the same pictorial views or clichés, which is fine if you’re just after a record of a day out or to record a special memory. But for me it’s important to delve a little deeper, get under the skin of the place and reflect a personal curiosity. Creative people have been doing that for over 200 years in the Lake District, from Wordsworth and the Romantics, to Kurt Schwitters. This is what gives the area such an important cultural resonance.

My latest photography exhibiton, ‘Hill People’, launches at Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere on 19 November, as part of Kendal Mountain Film Festival. ‘Hill People’ looks at who the people are that visit the fells throughout the year. What are they wearing and what does what we wear say about us? Do we need to be ‘fashionable’ to go into the hills? Are people making a fashion statement, following a tribe, or reflecting their character while wandering the hills? People often say “Hello” as they pass each other, going separate ways on a footpath, but rarely do we stop and think who ‘we’ all are.

Henry Iddon's 'Hill People' Photography Exhibition at Heaton Cooper Studio
Henry Iddon’s ‘Hill People’ Photography Exhibition at Heaton Cooper Studio

Why is this special to you… I think it’s important to keep looking and reflecting on the mountain environment. Seeking out new ways or reasons to describe the changing mountain environment, our connections to it and experiences of it. Otherwise the same old work is reproduced over and over. Climbers seek out new routes, new adventures. Art and culture can do the same.

What can audiences expect… Looking at the portraits in ‘Hill People’ the viewer may see themselves, people they know or something new. They’ll see how people have gone into the landscape to experience nature then hidden away from it in modern clothing, denying their senses the opportunity to really experience the natural environment. Equally they’ll see how some people adorn themselves with equipment and paraphernalia to appear authentic, while some individuals have the minimum of equipment. Most of all I think people will be surprised by the variety of people who visit the hills and fells.

Henry Iddon's 'Hill People' Photography Exhibition at Heaton Cooper Studio
Henry Iddon’s ‘Hill People’ Photography Exhibition at Heaton Cooper Studio

If you could name only 3 unmissable cultural hot spots or events in the Lakes – what would they be…

You could spend hours at The Wordsworth Trust, the material in the museum and archives is remarkable but it’s not all about history, they have some great contemporary exhibitions that link to the past and have events for kids and families as well.

Brantwood is also a treasure trove. Ruskin had such a remarkable life – the visual arts, poetry, geology, science and education. It’s all there to be seen. Again you could spend hours there.

Kendal Mountain Festival must be one of the most varied events in the Lakes, with such a wide variety on offer from the prestigious Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature, to art exhibitions, adrenaline sports films to lectures by some of the world’s most respected climbers, photographers and film-makers, along with live music and debate.

In a nutshell how would you describe the cultural offer in the Lakes… It’s very varied and there is something for everyone, from the highbrow to fun for children, and everything in-between.

And after a cultural adventure in the Lakes, where would be your ideal place to eat or stay… Tweedies at Dale Lodge in Grasmere is excellent for food, beer and relaxed atmosphere. And the steak and ale pie at Wasdale Head Inn is superb.

And we just have to ask.. if you could choose one view in the Lakes where would that be… Skiing on Raise in the winter – one way you look towards Catstycam and Helvellyn, but looking the opposite way you can see Ullswater and across to Bassenthwaite and Skiddaw.

Henry Iddon’s ‘Hill People’ photography exhibition is on at Heaton Cooper Studio from 19 November until 4 January

To enjoy these Lakes cultural events and much more, book your break in the Lake District here