OS triangulation pillars inspire photography exhibition at VG&M

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A new exhibition by Liverpool photographers, Stephanie Wynne and Stephen McCoy, inspired by the concrete triangulation pillars built by the Ordnance Survey to help map Great Britain has opened at the University’s Victoria Gallery & Museum

The ‘Re-triangulation of Great Britain’ by the Ordnance Survey began in 1932 and concrete triangulation pillars (often known as "trig pillar" or "trig point") were built all over the UK to aid accurate measurement using the principles of trigonometry. Over 6,000 pillars were built and completed by 1962.

McCoy Wynne identified the 310 primary pillars that are still standing and the exhibition comprises large 360 degree panoramic photographs produced by placing the camera on top of the triangulation pillar.

The work provides a comprehensive survey of the British landscape and deals with representations of the landscape, the layering of history, land use, ownership and boundaries.

Commenting on the exhibition, they said: “This exhibition is a selection from a larger body of work which we hope to complete in the next five years. The idea evolved form our love of maps and walking and the difference between the abstract view of the map and the real experience of the effort of the walk.”

Many people mistakenly think the function of the triangulation pillar is to mark the highest point of hills, but the trig pillars are placed in positions where at least two other points can be seen in order to form triangles for accurate measurement.

The panorama seemed the most valid response to the visual experience of reaching the trig pillar. The OS map reference is displayed with each panorama and McCoy Wynne felt it necessary to take an image of each pillar as a further visual reference creating a ‘legend’ for the project.

This methodical approach of producing the photographs alludes to the systematic nature of survey and mapping.

This iteration shows large-scale works and is accompanied by a written piece by Dr Les Roberts from Liverpool University’s CAVA institute.

TRIANGULATION - an exhibition by Stephanie Wynne and Stephen McCoy runs from 18th July until 24th August 2019 and is part of LOOK Liverpool Photographic Festival.

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