Notes from Near and Far

Notes from Near and Far is my blog on the nature of place. It’s hard to define place at all, let alone precisely. For some it might be wilderness, for others civilisation. It could equally be a meeting ground of the two. And that’s what makes it so inviting – its rough edges and overlooked shades, the so-close-to-home that it’s easily missed. These days I like to think of place as wherever I happen to be, and the relationship that I can broker with it.

As Alix Kates writes: “Within walking distance of any spot on Earth there’s probably more than enough mystery to investigate in a lifetime.”  We are continually capable of deepening that acquaintance, of becoming intimate with more than one place as long as the mystery keeps us curious. Notes from Near and Far hopes to follow that mystery that lends place its unique and ineffable signature.

I’ll try to keep the blog true to the spirit of place, tracking back and forth from the near to the far, and stopping off in between. It’ll cross a variety of terrains en route, and along the way I hope to post observations, book reviews, landscape and wildlife notes, images and animal encounters, as well as other writers’ reflections and impressions of place. Happy wanderings…

22 thoughts on “Notes from Near and Far

    1. Thank you for the kind and generous words, Cindy. It means a great deal to me. Having just had a brief glance at your blog I have a feeling that I’ll be equally thrilled. The gorgeous images were immediately compelling, and as soon as I have some time next week I’ll be having a much closer look. Again, many thanks for taking the time to read; it’s a pleasure to be in touch.


  1. Very nice blog Julian. Good work. What would happen if many more of us across the planet simply revealed the beauty and nature of our place, our land, our home? Makes me think of the May/June 2011 Sierra magazine article on showing Nature photographs to people in Afghanistan to present another side of America. Nature is literally our common ground, our common home, and your blog is a celebration of Greece, and therefore honors all of us. Thanks again!

    1. Thanks ever so much, Chris, for the thoughtful words and inspired mention of common ground, that place that sustains us all. I’m also fascinated by the Sierra magazine article and am going to have a look for it. How different our lands and homes can appear when shown from a different angle, one of love and respect for the natural world rather than the fraught political realms that they are so often perceived only to be.

      I deeply appreciate you stopping by, and adding these thoughts of yours.

      Best wishes,

    1. The pleasure is mine, madmike! Honoured that you’d like to borrow some ideas from here, and I’ll certainly stop by to have a look at your own work soon.

      Best wishes,

  2. Hi Julian,
    Very intriqued to find your beautiful site; especially so as I am working towards finishing artworks for an exhibition entitled “Sense of Place”. I find earth pigments and make my own paint, so my works refer directly to location. Your site is quite inspirational. I hope I can draw people’s attention to the beauty of the colours of the earth.

    1. Hi Celia,

      It’s a delight to hear from you, and many thanks for the very kind words. I’m fascinated by your approach – not only locating your work in a specific place but drawing your physical materials from the same source. An enactment of the ground. I’ve had a quick browse and I’m already drawn to the pigments and shades and shadows you show. I look forward to exploring more.

      Thanks again, and my very best wishes…


  3. Firstly, many congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. I, for you, am thrilled that you were, and that it introduced me to your blog. So far I have only skimmed the surface, but I have found it to be not only very interesting and beautifully written, but a place with a great sense of peace. As it happens I was seeking just such a place, so I am tempted to say that places exist not only in the “real” world but online, or better to say in the communication between people which the internet facilitates. Thank you for this I shall try to build on it now.

    1. Likewise, I am thrilled to read your comment this evening. Sorry about the delay in replying to you, but I wanted to consider what you’d said about the discovery of a ‘place’ online. I’m fascinated by this idea of yours, that despite of its lack of a physical geography we can feel connected to an electronic space, principally through the community that uses it. Much to consider there…

      I like the look of what you’re doing as well after a brief look at your page earlier. I’m continually fascinated by the things people do!

      Delighted that you like the blog and many thanks for your kind words!

      Best wishes,

  4. Thanks for looking at my blog and following me. I am glad to have found you as you seem to write about the things I am interested in. I look forward to exploring more,
    best wishes

    1. Thanks, Diana! It’s a delight to hear from you, and I greatly appreciate you following along. Looking forward very much to being in touch, and to further exploring your fine work.

      Best wishes,

  5. Congratulations on The Small Heart of Things. I discovered your blog through the mention of this award in Poets and Writers. Interesting that I didn’t bump into it when I trolled through the WordPress categories of nature and photography. Your words and photographs are exquisitely intertwined. Great reads; can’t wait for the book.

    1. Many thanks for the kind words and wishes, Cheryl, and great to be in touch here! I’m so pleased you found the blog, and I’m delighted to have discovered your writing on elephants through it. Looking forward very much to reading! Hope this finds you well, and thanks for taking the time to write.

      Best wishes,


  6. Hello Julian,
    We have touched base on Facebook and I have followed through to this Blog. We share an interest in the outdoors, nature, place and photography and I look forward to dipping in to your blog on a regular basis

    Richard Thorn

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