It's all black and white in Unmitigated England at the moment. Photographing out of doors usually means everything's reduced to tones of grey, but still very beautiful for all that. If the sun does come out, snow scenes can somehow look very chocolate boxy, but perhaps that's just me. I needed to take some shots of this tower the other day for a new book, and was quite pleased that not only was there no sunlight, but a fresh storm blowing in from the west to this high point in Leicestershire brought not only tons of atmosphere but also a remarkable lack of people. One can't usually move up here without a brightly-coloured fleece hoving into view. Old John is a landmark tower converted from a windmill in 1786 on a rocky outcrop in Bradgate Park (home to the Nine Days Queen Lady Jane Grey) as a memorial to an aged retainer who was felled by a flagpole falling on him. It had been thoughtfully placed at the heart of a celebratory coming-of-age bonfire. I've been coming up here since I was a very small child, but this week it was somehow unique. To be alone in these woods and snowy paths and looking out over hundreds of square miles of white-out landscape put everything into a fresh perspective.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)