“The internet has given space, nooks and crannies to all kinds and manner of niche interests, and it’s safe to say The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society and its website is one of the more niche, even amongst the further flung of such crannies.
The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society declares that its aim is to celebrate “the glorious everyday mundanitude of these simple silent sentinels the world over”, which has a rather fine poetic lyricism and intent. Amongst its pages you will find numerous photographic documentings of telegraph poles, Pole of the Month, Pole Appreciation Day and reporting on photographic recordings of poles from around the world.
A sense of appreciation is woven tightly throughout its collecting and documenting work; though sometimes cast in jovial language, there is a genuine love for these utilitarian objects, an appreciation of their accidental art.”
“An accompanying but not formally connected website is Poles and Pylons (or to give its full name, Telegraph Poles and Electricity Pylons). At this site, communication poles and their lines of communication can be found alongside fellow land-striding brethren and their humming power carrying cables. It is possibly a more otherly/psychogeographical study and documenting than The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society but both sites and their related activities complement one another somewhat; the flipside of one another’s coins.”
“The images they contain can often be a literal expression of the juxtaposition of technology, modernity and the pastoral, of the old ways and the new, when they are photographed amongst the landscape. In this manner they connect with the cover image of the first printing of Rob Young’s Electric Eden book from 2010 which depicts a farmer ploughing the land in a traditional horse-drawn manner under the gaze of electricity pylons.”
“Further sites which act as archival documentation hubs and expressions of an appreciation of similar structures and aspects of infrastructure include Disused Stations, which focuses on closed British railway stations and Subterranea Britannica, which documents often forgotten or decommissioned underground structures and installations such as Cold War Monitoring Posts and bunkers.
Sites such as these can also capture a sense of a lost age, of lost futures and a related melancholia or even paranoia at points with Subterranea Britannica.”
“The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society and Poles and Pylons also remind us of Jonny Trunk’s book collections of library music covers, The Music Library (2005 and revised in 2016).
While library music was produced in the more overtly creative medium of music, it was still designed to serve a particular purpose, to be stock audio that could for example soundtrack or reflect particular moods in film and due to that utilitarian intent the appreciation of it has links with that of the more accidental art of poles and pylons.”
“Also, a line could be drawn from such things to Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane’s Folk Archive book (2005) and exhibition, Barbara Jones Unsophisticated Arts book (1951) and the associated Black Eyes and Lemonade exhibition. These focus on, document and serve as an appreciation of creative work from everyday life that may have been created for utilitarian purposes and may not be considered art by its makers or wider society such as fairground ride decorations and cafe signs.”
“Further lines could also be drawn to Christopher Herwig’s Soviet Bus Stops book published in 2015, in which he creates a photographic document and appreciation of Soviet era bus stops and their designs which seems to have a reach beyond their utilitarian purpose and to reflect the visions and far-reaching striving of an empire.”
Online images to accompany Chapter 32 of the A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book, alongside some text extracts from the chapter:
Details of the A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book and the collection of its accompanying online images can be found at the Book’s Page, which will be added to throughout the year.