Four years after its completion, The Moor was picked up by a publisher and its release has resulted in new interest in Robert’s work, particularly from his contemporaries. Indeed, it has proven such a positive experience that he’s planning to self-publish his next book, The Vale, and future projects.
“The Vale is like the counterpart to The Moor – the summer to the winter,” Robert says. “It’s centred on the valley outside of Exeter, although the sense of location is much vaguer. I effectively lost my 20s, and this is an imagining of those summers, a sense of the bucolic and of beautiful people – but there’s still a tension there.” Robert has not finished with Dartmoor (and neither, you suspect, is Dartmoor finished with him). He has for the past three years documented the Ten Tors Challenge, and occasionally has had to put down his camera and pick up a compass to help navigate teenagers to their next checkpoint. Using a 5×4 format, he’s found the ratio that works best for him in centring on that experience of place – sometimes claustrophobic, always cinematic.
“It’s impossible to capture how epic a landscape Dartmoor is,” he concludes. “That scale, taking it all in – you just can’t replicate the human eye’s near 180° field of vision. So what I have attempted to do is put the viewer in that space – one which is imbued with so much unease and tension! And when I have people tell me that they feel nostalgia for Dartmoor, even though they have never been there, then I know that it has been successful.”