Saddleworth Moor

PhotographerMatthew Murray
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

I wanted to shoot landscapes of a beautiful specific area in the North of England. This area has a dark history attributed to it and one that will always be home to some the most disturbing crimes in British history.


I wanted to document the moors landscape as picturesque and beautiful, concentrating on light, composition and nature. Set in the South Pennines in the North of England, Saddleworth Moor is an infamous landscape because of the dark history attributed to it and one that will always be home to some the most disturbing crimes in British history. Despite it’s horrifying history Saddleworth Moor is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and somewhat overwhelming landscapes Britain has to offer. Enriched greatly by the ever-changing weather dictating the mood of the wide open and landscape from feeling swallowed up by it at times, the wild terrain can darken by the minute feeling melancholic and solemn. Strongly influenced by the Dutch painter Jacob Isaacksz Ruisdael I began to shoot a series of Landscapes of Saddleworth Moor. Ruisdael’s work is brooding and draws out eeriness and an overwhelming sense of darkness. I was inspired by this and incorporated this brooding and melancholic theme throughout the landscapes themselves rather than the disturbing history of Saddleworth Moor. It is over 50 years since Ian Brady and Myra Hindley murdered five children aged between 10 and 17 Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans. The murders are so named because two of the victims were discovered in graves dug on Saddleworth Moor. Characterised by the press as "the most evil woman in Britain", Hindley made several appeals against her life sentence, claiming she was a reformed woman and no longer a danger to society, but she was never released. She died in 2002, aged 60. Brady was declared criminally insane in 1985, since when he has been confined in the high-security Ashworth Hospital. He has made it clear that he never wants to be released, and has repeatedly asked that he be allowed to die. And although since the very dark days since the discovery of such terrible crimes, undoubtedly Saddleworth Moor is and always will be stunningly beautiful and an awe inspiring landscape.