Paul Railtons’ The Thistle and The Rose

This series of images focuses particularly on the articulation subjectively and objectively of the border line and the cultural expressions created by the social, political and historical processes manifested from this. Railton’s photographs examine the pauses between the states of space and place, dealing with the stillness that endures from the interaction between nature and human life. The border between England and Scotland stretches just over 80 miles from along the River Tweed in the East and into The Solway Firth in the West. At each road that allows you to cross, there are signs to tell you which country you are in. Most of the time you step you are not sure which country you are in. Following the route of the border through the landscape, Paul Railton’s project The Thistle and the Rose asks questions of the artificial construct of a border and the cultural implications that can manifest from bordering; social constructs of what makes one country or another are invisible along the line that denotes a border.

The sea shifts in silence
A sharp wind blows
No signs to follow
In between the sea and firth
Before me a line

The flow of the tweed
Tumbles in on itself
Heather moves like waves
Upon the hills

Scotland, England
England, Scotland

Heel after heel
Between a tree, along a clearing
Sheep hurry from remote control dogs
The sun shrinks west
Hills become an orange scowl

Snow cold makes its way,
through the bones
Towards, You! The sea
The sea isn’t there
Hiding behind a thin grey haze.