A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is an area deemed to be of special interest because of botanical, zoological or geological features that merit protection or preservation. There are more than 6,000 in Britain.
The formal notification for a new site includes a citation of the thing of special scientific interest and a map of the boundary defining the area. In some cases these sites are literally fenced off. This mode of classification of the environment reflects the discovery of knowledge whereby a new species, structure or concept is defined or acquired, and given a place in our understanding of our landscape and ourselves.
Often SSSIs are found on former industrial sites, many dating from the nineteenth century, a period when significant and related developments in industry, colonisation, classification and photographic processes and techniques occurred.
Taking a photograph is an act of visual classification in its own right. The frame imparts significance to the elements organised within it, a reflection of the cartographic border of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Whatever is chosen for organisation in the frame adds to the sum of our visual knowledge.
With the advent of digital technology the potential sum of this knowledge is perhaps beginning to outstrip our capacity to comprehend.