In an introduction to Ron Frampton’ book Beyond the Vale, former president of the Royal Photographic Society, John Page, highlighted the ‘wonderful visual history’ contained in the book. He described it as a ‘moment in time, captured by the camera and pen, and preserved for posterity.’ It is an apt tribute to a man who had spent a lifetime compiling photographs that capture the essence of the West Country.
This June marked a year since Ron died and in keeping with his wishes, his partner scattered his ashes on the land that was close to Ron’s heart.
Being in the middle of a worldwide viral pandemic seems to make it even more fitting to look back on some of the work that Ron compiled to remember the countryside and people that he loved so much. As he said in his own introduction to the book, ‘Everything past and present is somehow interrelated’. He believed that the tales of our ancestors and their social structures are ‘interwoven, in time and space, with the land from which they came.’ Looking now at the images from the book it is hard not to feel the power of times past and see the influence of our ancestors on the way we live today. In some ways, the use of the land is a little different but the essence of the love for countryside, people and place is still there within the descendants of those that went before.
Ron taught photography at Dillington House for over twenty years and over those many years—and through those many classes—he inspired his students to admire the area in and around the Marshwood Vale with much of the same affection that he had. More than that he instilled in his students an instinct to see the beauty and history etched on the faces and landscape of people and place wherever they travelled.
Beyond the Vale is Ron’s own tribute to the photographers he worked with over the three years it took to compile the project. Many of the stories and photographs had already been published in the Marshwood Vale Magazine and we are fortunate to have an archive of fascinating accounts and images to share with our readers. While this work of recording and publishing the stories of those that walk the land that our ancestors marvelled at continues, we will also take the time to look back and pay tribute to those that went before.
This month, to celebrate being in print again, we are giving away ten copies of Ron’s book Beyond the Vale. Just send us a postcard or email with your name and address and the first ten names chosen out of a hat will receive a copy of this wonderful book.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or postcard to Beyond the Vale Book, Lower Atrim, Bridport, Dorset DT6 5PX.