Tonewood: Lawrence Impey & Sue Rose

Exhibition: 29 April – 1 June 2019

Standing Water from Tonewood by Lawrence Impey & Sue Rose, 2019.
‘Standing Water’ from Tonewood by Lawrence Impey & Sue Rose, 2019.

“Trees, rooted to the spot, connect us to the surface of the planet, a visual reference to time and place; their life-cycle provides a metaphor for our own, enhanced by their evident anthropomorphism. Enter the woods and we become the interlopers with a heightened awareness, oppressed by silence or nervous at the cracking of a twig.” – Lawrence Impey

Lawrence Impey’s photographs for Tonewood, the title of his exhibition at The Poetry Café and accompanying book, produced in collaboration with the poet Sue Rose, are inspired by his deep fascination with woodland. He explains, “For a couple of years, I was fortunate to live close to Monken Hadley Common and the adjoining Covert Way Nature Reserve in the London Borough of Barnet.”

“To photograph woodland is to explore a different realm and, hopefully, to come away with something that expresses a connection to the natural world, an awareness of the beauty of nature as revealed by light, a sense of growth and decay and the passing of the seasons. After photographing the area for about a year, I approached the poet Sue Rose to see whether she would be interested in creating poems to accompany the photographs.”

Sue Rose was delighted to spend time examining Lawrence’s beautiful black and white images to see where they would lead. “They resonated with many of my preoccupations as a poet and provided me with a point of departure for meditations on heredity, legacy and endurance. The process led to the creation of these twenty poems, which would not have been written without Lawrence’s photographs. The resulting book is a testament to creative symbiosis and also to the survival of what lives on in us and through us, despite the predations of death and change.”

“Tree diagrams dating as far back as Darwin have been used to communicate life’s history of descent. Darwin said ‘The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree. I believe this simile largely speaks the truth…’ Trees draw deep from the soil, the way we draw on our pasts, nourished by all that has gone before, creating communities of similarity and succour. We are rooted in our traditions, our memories and our upbringings and these, like the roots of a tree, provide us with a strong foundation from which to grow.”

About the artists

Since graduating from Bournemouth & Poole College of Art & Technology in 1974, Lawrence Impey‘s photographs have been published in numerous books and magazines, including Mojo, Q and Rolling Stone. He now works mainly on self-directed projects using monochrome film which he processes and digitises. His previous exhibitions include On The Beat, held in Hackney, London, in 2007, and Signs Of The Seventies in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in 2015. Lawrence lives in Greenwich, London

Sue Rose is the author of two poetry collections published by Cinnamon Press: From the Dark Room and The Cost of Keys. A third Cinnamon collection is due out in 2020. She also published a chapbook of sonnets paired with her own photos, Heart Archives, with Hercules Editions. Tonewood, a book of poems with tree photographs by Lawrence Impey, is published by Eaglesfield Editions in early 2019. She won the Troubadour Poetry Prize in 2009 and the Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition in 2008, and has been commended, shortlisted or placed in competitions such as the National Poetry Competition, Live Canon, Peterloo and Wigtown.

Join us for a celebratory event at The Poetry Café, London, with Lawrence Impey & Sue Rose on 2 May, 6.30–8.30pm – all welcome!

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