An Important View explores how people anchor the memory and essence of loved ones through marking a place special to them after they have died. It records the memorial benches (or styles) and the views from them in Pembrokeshire, Wales and although I have only put a few up here there are more than 60 pieces in the project spanning the whole of the county.

I have always been intrigued by the way people sit on benches without looking at what is written there. Initially this was conceived as a look at the way benches are often located in the most peculiar places – maybe right in front of a hedge, for example. As it evolved however, and as soon as I began to speak to those commissioning benches, it became obvious this initial idea was short-lived – more about my observations and judgements than what I could actually see before me.

I felt increasingly obliged to get the best possible view from sitting on the bench - as if anything less would be disloyal to people I had never met. Many of the views look straight out to sea, which seems to carry a lot of the weight of the project.

The texts are faithful accounts of what I was told by speaking to friends and relatives, located one by one. When I was unable to find anyone who directly knew the person to whom the inscription is addressed I labelled it simply ‘unknown’. I was a journalist in the county when I started the work, and had lots of contacts to draw on for my research - I didn’t have Broadband Internet to help me at the time and there was no social media to plug into. Mostly it was just old-fashioned talking to people.

These benches are highly personal and unique expressions of lives keenly felt by those who knew them. I see them also as an expression of how we all want to feel we left a mark on the world before slipping into the next room. My father had died not long before I started this work and I am sure this was a response to that experience of loss.

The project was supported by the Arts Council of Wales. The images were shown simultaneously in libraries across the county in 2004, and as one solo show in Oriel Queen’s Hall Gallery in 2005. You can read a text about the work published in .Cent magazine by clicking here