Stand for the Stones

Stand for the Stones is a body of work exploring the modern-day continuation of the decades-long battle against the proposed tunnel and infrastructure works in the Stonehenge area. Created using Polaroid colour 600 film and expired 35mm film for two reasons: to pay homage to the road protest photographers of the 1990s; and to build a bond of trust and involve the occupants of the Stonehenge Heritage Action Camp in the photographic process.  

The images shown here have been taken during three separate visits to the stonehenge camp. This site has been established as a beautiful community space that serves many functions, including hosting gatherings, festivals, talks and workshops.

“I came here because my friends were interested in starting this campaign and I was on the HS2 line and I just kinda needed a break from being on the frontline of all that. There’s a million reasons why this scheme is a terrible idea and isn’t going to fix the problem. 
Whenever we build more roads we just end up with more traffic on them. We literally do not have the carbon budget to build any more roads or use any more fossil fuels or put any more concrete down. They’re going to be tearing through lots of bat habitats where we know there’s threatened barbastelle bats, 

They’re also going to be tearing through Blick Mead spring,  one of the oldest human settlements that we have evidence of that exists. They'll be going through burial mounds and other archaeologically sensitive areas. You just don't trample over your ancestors like that.

This is a really sensitive area of the country, it’s really very untouched. It’s the largest chalk grassland in Europe that's been untouched and it's also a World Heritage site so there's not been a whole lot of digging and building here which means that once it's all been dug up and and trashed then it's going to be open for just general development, it’s potentially going to lose its World Heritage status”.

Goldie, October 2021.

“The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine”

1700s land justice poem

“I just love the communities on protest camps here in the UK. I think it was something I’ve been searching for all my life, without really knowing it.
       I came here after learning about the tunnel. It’s a beautiful space, so many people just trying to make    an actual community, which you don’t often get in activist spaces because there’s always the threat of eviction.

But here it was more like “let’s build something”, you know? Not worry about eviction so much and just try and protect the stones”

Basil, May 2022.

I’m walking along King’s Barrow Ridge, I can see Stonhenge in the distance, I can see the Drove. All the vans lined up, all the people who hold this land important, sacred, special, for a whole variety of reasons. Whether they celebrate the stones themselves, or celebrate their ancestors, or celebrate the old days of the free festivals and open access to the stones.

What strikes me every time I come out here is how biodiverse this area is. I just heard my first cuckoo in maybe three years. I’ve seen at least four species of bird in the last five minutes; wildflowers everywhere, so many different plants, trees, organisms. There’s so much here that’s just going to be wiped out, damaged and destroyed if this road goes ahead.

The more time I spend here the more time I realise I can’t stay unbiased. I’ve got to pick a side. I think I went into this work with an open, journalistic perspective. But that’s impossible to keep now. 

            --- this work is ongoing. For updates on the campaign please follow @stonehengehag ---
All images copyright © George Steedman Jones 2023. All rights reserved. 
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