River - Alexandra Rode



32 pp / 190 x 230mm
Staple Bound
Fedrigoni paper
First edition of 100


I started to take my camera on walks during the months-long lockdown at the beginning of 2021. I returned here, to a small bridge across the river, more than I did to any other place, taking pictures of the river against the moor and a wild patch of forest in the distance. Maybe because it represents a paradox of constancy and change I find deeply comforting: the river was here since the landscape had been shaped by the retreating glaciers of the last ice age. For two millennia, it has been the basis of human settlement at what was to become the small town where I live, and for centuries, the people living at its banks have skillfully used it to cultivate and shape the land and to develop flourishing businesses. And yet the river never stands still, never stops changing, just like the landscape I live in. Often I perceive it only as a backdrop to my daily struggles. Standing on the bridge and walking the moor, I learned to consciously notice the sometimes slow, sometimes sudden change of the light, or the almost imperceptible signs of a new season approaching, about to alter the landscape in its way.

What started as a coping mechanism for the pandemic has grown into both a project and an exercise of itself. It has taught me to ‚zoom out‘ and focus on the incomprehensibly long time the river has been here, so the pandemic and some of the subsequent crises – however existential and massive they might be – feel like a sneeze in history. Others, though, don’t. The climate crisis is something I’ve grown more aware of on those walks, taking the pictures of the river. I can also ‚zoom in‘ and pay closer attention to what’s around me, and become aware of how much everything is, like the river, in a constant state of flux: a cloud moving away from the sun and casting a completely different quality of light across the landscape than a second ago; the light and weather changing over the course of a day, a month, a season, a year. I have learned to be patient, persistent, observant and open to change, even and especially in the face of crises. Maybe these skills will help me face them.


FIELD NOTES is a series of affordable zines showcasing photography projects which explore our relationship with 'place'.