Jon Roberts is showing a series of images from a documentary project entitled 'This Other Eden' - a project he undertook on the U.K. National Parks.
In May 2017, a draft version of the Future Landscapes Wales report was published. It caused a great deal of concern, as it placed a lot of emphasis on innovation and development, but little on the value of conserving the special qualities of protected landscapes. It made Jon realise that we cannot take these things for granted and motivated him to begin this documentary project.
Inspired by Carleton Watkins’ large format photographs that helped create public support for the first National Parks in the U.S., Jon set out to photograph the U.K. National Parks using a vintage panoramic film camera. In addition to the landscape images, he interviewed and photographed people who lived and worked in the National Parks.
In his 1975 book The Experience of Landscape, Jay Appleton argued that we are attracted to landscapes that offer prospect or refuge, thereby serving our biological needs. This ‘prospect-refuge theory’ enabled Appleton to link those fundamental needs with the enjoyment we get from contemplating landscapes or their representation in works of art. With the panoramic camera, Jon hoped to find out whether these primordial vistas offering Prospect and Refuge could still be found.