all photographs by Andrew Montgomery
The weather has been sweltering hot these last couple of days, and Jasper Conran's sumptuous book Country is the perfect escape. Looking at these evocative images of life in rural England stirs up all my yearning for the country. Conran celebrates the part of the English country that he knows, conjuring up the magnificence of the landscape as well as the eccentricity of its people and their traditions. It makes me think about my own life and where I live. Being a deracinated refugee, home has always been where I happen to be. Unlike someone who has lived all their life in one place, I have no entangled memories in the landscape that makes up my home. There is nothing that keeps me rooted to this place. But I have come to love this city that's been my home for most of the last two decades. There is no shortage of eccentricity as well as traditions, in a New York kind of way. There is also creativity, conviviality, and community. And there is so much unexpected and uncommon beauty. Yet every once in a while, I get a hankering to sit silently still in a flowering meadow or to trample across a green field.