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The Legacy project - A fascinating not-for-profit endeavour to photograph the mystifying stone remains of British prehistoric sites.
31 backers pledged £675 to help bring this project to life.
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Callanish Stone Circle, Isle of Lewis
Callanish Stone Circle, Isle of Lewis

What is the Legacy Project?

The Legacy project is a fascinating not-for-profit endeavour to capture the mystifying stone remains of prehistoric sites scattered across the British Isles. Ancient stone circles are a remarkable legacy of Neolithic Britain, their shadowy origins stirring the hushed whispers of fables and legends throughout the ages.

Escape with Jason Friend on an eloquent photographic journey that pays homage not only to the prehistoric remnants of a lost civilisation, but to the soul of a landscape immersed in mystery and wonder - a journey that aims to raise public awareness of these precious ancient monuments, and to assist in their preservation for future generations.

The Legacy project is the realisation of an idea that was inspired many years ago - it was Jason’s early visits to these sites that sparked his initial desire to learn photography. Spellbound by the power these archaic stone remnants wield across the landscape, Jason longed to capture the essence of these mysterious locations on film. This would take him on an incredible journey that would eventually lead to a career as a renowned professional landscape photographer.

Moving beyond a mere appreciation of the aesthetic, the aim of The Legacy Project is not simply to record the physical structure of these stone circles, but to instil a complete emotional experience which conveys the ethereal nature of these megalithic sites. Through this photographic journey, Jason wants the ancient spirit of the landscape to wash over you – for you to think, to feel, to imagine what once took place where the stones remain.

In order to capture the stark and dramatic tone of these mystical landscapes, the project is being shot entirely in black and white using a mixture of infrared film, and infrared converted digital cameras. Traditional photography equipment will also be used to produce images taken during extreme long exposures (sometimes exceeding 10 minutes) to portray a sense of passing time, hinting at the trove of secrets the stone circles have held throughout the ages.

To date, the Legacy Project has led Jason along a fascinating path of discovery across the stunning British countryside, including visits to historical sites in the Orkney Islands, Western Isles, Isle of Arran, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Derbyshire, Cumbria, and Northumberland. 

Moel Ty Uchaf Stone Circle, Denbighshire
Moel Ty Uchaf Stone Circle, Denbighshire
The King Stone, Oxfordshire
The King Stone, Oxfordshire

 What is Phase Two of the Legacy Project?

Initially the first phase of the project was entirely self-funded as I explored the various different techniques (both artistic and technical) required to create the images for the project. Then last year, through the support of my Kickstarter Backers, I raised enough funds to significantly speed up the progress of the project. Over a six month period, I managed to visit and photograph far more sites than I ever imagined would be available in such a short time span including perhaps the three most important sites to be found in the British Isles - Callanish, Avebury and Stonehenge.

The initial aims of the second phase are to promote the project and the images from phase one. However, in addition to the promotion of the images, I am also looking to undertake an ambitious trip to photograph the numerous prehistoric sites scattered across Ireland and Wales. 

The Exhibition

The first stage of the promotional side of the project is to hold an exhibition at the Joe Cornish Gallery in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, UK. The dates for this exhibition are to be Saturday 4th April to Thursday 30th April 2015. As it stands, I have raised enough funds through print and card sales to fund the majority of this exhibition. However, I still require a further £250 to cover the costs of printing and framing. I am hoping that sales made through this major exhibition will help me to fund the planned trip to Ireland and Wales. As such I am aiming to raise £250 through this Kickstarter Campaign to ensure that I have enough funds for the exhibition to continue.

The Ireland and Wales Photography Trip

For a while now I have dreamed of visiting Ballynoe and a number of other Irish sites including the mystical Ancient Temple of Newgrange. In his book ‘Rings of Stone ‘, Aubrey Burl suggested that Ballynoe Stone Circle may have had direct links with Swinside Stone Circle in Cumbria. He suggests that there may have been a prehistoric sea route from Dundrum Bay (2 miles from Ballynoe) to Duddo Sands on the West Coast of Cumbria. It can not be denied that there are distinct similarities in the construction of Swinside and Ballynoe, which is incredible if you consider that both sites could have been constructed by the same people who had to travel the Irish Sea in prehistoric boats some 5000 years ago.

Swinside Stone Circle, Cumbria
Swinside Stone Circle, Cumbria

 If I manage to exceed the £250 goal, taking into account projected sales from the exhibition, I will be able to visit Ballynoe Stone Circle. And funds raised above the £250 goal will allow me to spend further time in Northern Ireland and also the Republic of Ireland. I am planning to travel from the north to south, visiting a number of sites including the famous Drombeg Stone Circle.

I am hoping (if funding allows) to return to the United Kingdom via a direct ferry from Southern Ireland to South Wales. From here I will return to Northern England with a number of planned stops at prehistoric sites across Wales.

And finally... 

If I do reach the £250 goal, I am planning to release a small number of the images on a CC-BY-SA Wikipedia-compatible copyright license. This means that a selection of images would be available to download for free from the Legacy Project website.

Callanish Stone Circle (No 4), Isle of Lewis
Callanish Stone Circle (No 4), Isle of Lewis
Nine Stones Close Stone Circle, Derbyshire
Nine Stones Close Stone Circle, Derbyshire
Croft Moraig Stone Circle, Perthshire
Croft Moraig Stone Circle, Perthshire
Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Bernera Standing Stones, Western Isles
Bernera Standing Stones, Western Isles

Risks and challenges

Ultimately the major risk to this project is lack of initial funding for the next stage. Without it, the exhibition will need to be down-sized, and the trip to Ireland and Wales will have to go on hold for another year.

However, there are no real ongoing concerns once the project has received funding. Perhaps the only concern would be the British weather but thankfully these monuments have survived for over 5000 years and I am more than happy to wait for the perfect conditions.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $2

    Thank you for your support. Your name will be included on the list of project supporters featured on the website and ebook.

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    Pledge £5 or more About $7

    As above plus a copy of the "Legacy" ebook (Apple iBook and PDF format).

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    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    6" x 4" photographic print featuring an image from the "Legacy" Project. In addition to the print, you will also receive a copy of the "Legacy" ebook (Apple iBook and PDF format) and your name will be included on the list of project supporters featured on the website and ebook.

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    Pledge £15 or more About $20

    All of the above plus a selection of 4 greeting cards featuring images from the project.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $52

    Signed A4 giclée photographic print featuring an image of your choice from the "Legacy" Project. Please note that you will be able to choose your selected print from a gallery which will be uploaded in the autumn of 2015. In addition to the print, you will also receive a copy of the "Legacy" ebook (Apple iBook and PDF format) and your name will be included on the list of project supporters featured on the website and ebook.

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    Pledge £75 or more About $98

    Signed A3 giclée photographic print featuring an image of your choice from the "Legacy" Project. Please note that you will be able to choose your selected print from a gallery which will be uploaded in the autumn of 2015. In addition to the print, you will also receive a copy of the "Legacy" ebook (Apple iBook and PDF format) and your name will be included on the list of project supporters featured on the website and ebook.

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Funding period

- (30 days)