The River Meadow at the Pile of Stones

Photo book and photography exhibition by Matt Writtle

A photo book exploring the relationship between humanity and the environment in the English hinterland, and an accompanying exhibition at The Elgiva.

Published by Matt Writtle on 3rd October 2020 – Foreword by Feargal Sharkey
£14.99 HB, ISBN: 978-1-9997895-1-0
Book launch: 11am Saturday 3rd October 2020, The Elgiva Theatre, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, HP5 1HR
Indoor and Outdoor Exhibition and Walking Trail: 3rd October – 1st November, The Elgiva Theatre, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, HP5 1HR

The River Meadow at the Pile of Stones is a series of photographs exploring the relationship between humanity and the environment in the English hinterland.

As the route of HS2 threatens to carve up vast swathes of countryside, experts fear this could severely impact the unique eco-system of England’s fragile chalk streams, which are under significant threat from population increase, excessive water use and winter droughts. While climate change threatens life on a global scale, photographer Matt Writtle has spent the past two years documenting the Chiltern Hills town of Chesham and the areas surrounding the River Chess – a natural chalk stream whose source springs in the town. The River Meadow images reflect the impact, balance and transition humanity has had on the town since the first settlers arrived in 8000 BC.

Published after successful Arts Council England funding, the project incorporates an indoor exhibition at The Elgiva, which is also the starting point for an outdoor photography exhibition and walking trail included in the Chiltern Walking Festival (17th October – 1st November). Writtle will conduct artist-led walks every Saturday throughout October, check here for details. The Elgiva is also celebrating the eco-focus of the day by screening Sir David Attenborough’s “A Life On Our Planet”; this unique feature documentary is Sir David’s witness statement and includes a very special, exclusive conversation between Sir David Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin.

Matt Writtle is an award-winning portrait and documentary photographer based in Buckinghamshire. Since 1992, he has travelled the world documenting news, social and humanitarian issues for national and international publications such as The Times, London Evening Standard, The Guardian, New York Times, The Australian and the Hong Kong Standard. He produced his first monograph Sunday: A Portrait of 21st Century England in 2017 which documented how people living in England spent their leisure in a digital and consumerist world.

Do read our interview with Matt, here.

The River Meadow at the Pile of Stones is available to order at here or from The Elgiva Box Office.

Gallery opening times:
Monday – Saturday: 10:30 – 3pm
The gallery is fully wheelchair accessible.

Image credit: The River Meadow at the Pile of Stones, © Matt Writtle 2020

The book contains:
Foreword by Feargal Sharkey
20 x colour photographs
Extracts from Chesham Tithe Map (circa 1842)
Viewpoints by:
– Allen Beechey, Chilterns’ Conservation Board, Chalk Streams Project Officer
– Paul Jennings, Chairman of the River Chess Association



29th September 2020