“The Thistle and the Rose”, 2018 | Paul Railton


Paul Railton is a documentary landscape photographer, based in Yorkshire, whose work responds to the pauses in between the states of both space and place, yet deals with the stillness that endures from the interaction between nature and human life.

We asked Paul about his latest series.

This series of images focuses particularly on the articulation subjectively and objectively of the border line and the cultural expressions created by the social, political and historical processes manifested from this. Railton’s photographs examine the pauses between the states of space and place, dealing with the stillness that endures from the interaction between nature and human life. The border between England and Scotland stretches just over 80 miles from along the River Tweed in the East and into The Solway Firth in the West. Most of the time you step forward you are not sure which country you are in. Following the route of the border through the landscape, Paul Railton’s project ‘The Thistle and the Rose’ asks questions of the artificial construct of a border and the cultural implications that can manifest from bordering; social constructs of what makes one country or another are invisible along the line that denotes a border.
There is also a poem entitled ‘The Thistle and the Rose’ that accompanies the images:

The sea shifts in silence

A sharp wind blows

No signs to follow

In between the sea and firth

Before me a line.

The flow of the tweed

Tumbles in on itself

Heather moves like waves

Upon the hills

Scotland, England

England, Scotland

Heel after heel

Between a tree, along a clearing

Sheep hurry from remote control dogs

The sun shrinks west

Hills become an orange scowl.

Snow cold makes its way,

through the bones

Towards, You! The sea

The sea isn’t there

Hiding behind a thin grey haze.

To see more of Paul's work, visit www.paulrailton.com

All images and text © Paul Railton