Andrew Fusek Peters
The book, due to be published this month (September), is subtitled My Shropshire Year and explores the county’s sumptuous landscapes and fascinating wildlife across the changing seasons, with a chapter devoted to each month.
The work, though, took three years to put together, not least because Andrew battled bowel cancer, from which he was only given the all-clear in January this year.
No sooner had he returned to health then, with the rest of us, he was plunged into the uncertain world of the coronavirus pandemic. It has compounded the strain of trying to arrange care for his 88 year-old mother, the retired stage and screen actress Vera Fusek.
Sunset over Diamond Rock
“Because of shielding, I’ve only been able to see her through a window. I haven’t hugged her in three and a half months,” he reflects.
His illness, followed so quickly by the national lockdown, has had a big effect on Andrew’s business.
“By sharing such beauty, I hope to make people think about conservation and about what we are in danger of losing.”
Milky Way over Soulton Barrow
On the upside, though, Andrew believes the constraints of lockdown – particularly the absence of traffic and light pollution – have seen the natural world flourish.
“I think there is definitely a sense that as the human world came almost to a standstill, wildlife came to the fore.”
The rewards for such dedication are perfectly illustrated by Hill & Dale. A siskin and goldfinch squaring up, dawn over the Long Mynd, a rare yellow-necked mouse, an adder at Whixall Moss, an emerald damsel fly at sunset, an alarming image of an aggressive male swan, a wild foal at Stretton, starlings turning the sky black, leaping salmon, snowy landscapes and hills shrouded in mist, remarkable shots of star-filled skies.
There is a spirituality about these photographs, as there is with those in Andrew’s previous books, Wilderlandand Upland.