‘There can be no true beauty without decay’ – discovering new artists with Trilby Pheasant; Ian M Hazeldine

As you know, I love my visits to Trilby Pheasant in Hawarden. This is a deliciously quirky lifestyle emporium, an eccentric collection of clothes, jewellery, accessories and home to some fabulously British brands, like Sugarhill Brighton, One Hundred Stars, Wyse, Workhouse Clothing and many more…

Head into the Vintage Souk for all kinds of secret treasures or take a trip upstairs to a gallery full of mysterious surprises.

It was upstairs at Trilby Pheasant where I happened upon an interesting chap who had a fabulous story to tell. And he could prove it all by the pictures hanging on the walls.

I recognized Ian Hazeldine from a bygone era of Chester – when buskers were celebrities and superstar DJ John Locke sold beautiful vinyl at Penny Lane Records.

Ian and I spent a while reminiscing about the good old days, before we got to the heart of it, and I found his story fascinating.

Obviously a creative soul, Ian has been a successful designer of many sorts for many years, as well as a musician and writer, but it was his photographic subject matter that I found incredibly intriguing. Take a look at some of his work in this blog – lovely images of what could be perfectly staged sets. But they’re not staged at all.

Ian is one of a few photographers who go out of their way, and often their carefully researched way – to find abandoned buildings to photograph both in the UK and much further afield, and the results are stunning.

Ian told me of a trip to Denbigh Insane Assylum which closed its doors in 1995 after 147 years of service. Constructed between 1844-1848and originally designed to accommodate about 200 patients, it was expanded to alleviate overcrowding in 1899 and eventually was home to as many as 1500 patients.

The history is as dark and unnerving as the building itself, and Ian has taken a collection of pictures there which have captured its sinister ambience.

He has similar stories to tell from trips all over the UK and Europe, sometimes with a close shave due to trespassing, and even one where he fell upon a terrible injury and hospitalisation. Sometimes, he waits all day for the light to be just right..

I asked Ian about his most memorable places…

He said that this place in France was stunning, on a very beautiful tree lined lane. But he had heard it had been badly vandalised, and someone had spray painted the piano.

Next he said would be this beautiful chateau in Belgium. You can only imagine what this place would have been like before it fell into ruin. He heard recently that it had been demolished.

Another favourite, again in France and perhaps the most beautiful exterior. Ian visited on his way back to the UK, late on a Sunday afternoon. He only had about an hour here, so sadly missed the incredible boars head in the grand hallway.

The subject matter is less the actual buildings themselves, and more the stories they tell and their decay, which is so eerily visual.

If you would like to see more of Ian’s images, take a trip to Hawarden and head straight to Trilby Pheasant. His amazing work is definitely worth the trip.