Now is life very solid, or very shifting?

(Virginia Woolf 1882 – 1941)

On March 28th 1941, the English writer Virginia Woolf drowned herself in the tidal river Ouse, near Monk’s House, her home in Rodmell, East Sussex. She was 59. To Woolf, water represented both a life line as well as an escape from this world. Woolf’s work is concerned with memory, and the flow of consciousness as something fluid, cyclical and repetitive, rather like the ebb and flow of waves. The connection between life and death is at the heart of her writing when she questions the purpose of life, and vascilates between sensations of ecstasy and deep despair.

The texture of water is similar to the texture of memory: both are fluid, fleeting, and constantly in motion. Ocean tides have been likened to human breathing: pumping breath in and out in circular motion. In this series of images Julia followed the river Ouse from its source near Slaugham in West Sussex to Rodmell in East Sussex. In Rodmell, she visited Monk’s House, and photographed the lily pond and elm trees where Virginia Woolf’s ashes were scattered. She walked along the Ouse to Southease, Piddinghoe and Newhaven where she photographed the river finally flowing into the sea.