The province of Groningen, in the north of The Netherlands, is traditionally an agricultural area. The land is flat, empty, stretched out. The soil is fertile. A large part of the province consists of clay soil, deposited during the many floods of the Wadden Sea over the centuries.
Once the eastern part of the province was known as the granary of The Netherlands. In other parts of the province sugar beets and potatoes are grown. But the number of farms has declined rapidly in recent decades. Sons no longer want to take over the farms of their parents. Youth pulls away to the industrial and densely populated western part of The Netherlands. The population on the Groningen countryside is ageing.
As a result of these developments, fertile farmland has been changed into water in recent years. New lakes were created, and new cities were built next to those newly landscaped lakes, in order to attract new residents to the sparsely populated area. These projects have not been very successful so far. The new inhabitants don’t come, whilst the province and municipalities involved lost large amounts of money on it.
The title Grinslân derives from the name that Frisians – who are the adjacent province – use for Groningen. I picked that name because I try to look at the landscape in my own province through the eyes of a foreigner.
— Reinier Treur, Haren, Netherlands
Transient Landscape is a project of 38 photographs taken in May 2015 in New Taipei City. It is in the Xindian District that I grabbed my camera to watch, like walkers who stop along the construction site gates, the world changing. Here, as almost everywhere else the construction site is the entertainment world in transformation. The scope of the project and the work which extend over several acres still reveal nothing that will be, but already everywhere the land was returned, dug, moved, destroyed. This transformation of the landscape is a tragedy for ecology, and yet it is the future we are building.
As in my previous series, I think of photographs of Transient Landscape as painting, at least as Pictorialists thought of photography. This is obviously a labor of atmospheric light with a concern for composition and framing. It is with this pictorial sensibility that I manage to “beautify” almost pathetically an assaulted landscape by urbanism.
— Guillaume Hebert, Taipei, Taiwan
After living in China for almost a year I moved to the United States in 2012 and was amazed to see a country that was absolutely different from what I had envisioned. As a foreigner who had just come here I mainly knew this country from movies – and that was a country of wealth, happiness, skyscrapers and success. I realized however that it was just an image Hollywood wants us to see. America itself became a sort of myth to everyone in the outside world.
What I saw in reality was absolutely different from that established image. If you dive deeper into the country you’ll find countless places that are authentic in their pureness. They are the soul of the country and enable one to look into its heart. I set out on a journey through the states to find this kind of places. I wanted to see its roots and its real unmodified face.
My goal is to demystify the picture Hollywood created. In a surreal way I’m documenting America as it is – vast and giant, strange and weird, forgotten and lonely. My goal is to strip it down, making it naked to our eyes, thoughts and minds.
— Pavel Tereshkovets, San Francisco
A buffer zone in Cyprus was first established in 1964. The UN sent peace keepers to prevent a recurrence of fighting, following intercommunal violence between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots that had flared up in December 1963.
After a Greek Cypriot coup d’état and a Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the United Nations Security Council extended and expanded the mission, and a 180 km long (and up to 7.4 km wide) demilitarized and depopulated Buffer Zone was established: this “Green Line” de facto splits the island in two.
The UN mission in Cyprus, UNFICYP, — keeping peace, patrolling the buffer zone etc. — is the UN’s cheapest and costs some EUR 50 million a year.
This “Green Line” cuts right through the centre of the old town of Nicosia. In some parts, it is only one street (3.3 meters) wide. Outside of the capital, there are several deserted villages in the buffer zone. Nicosia’s international airport also lies in the Buffer Zone: its brand new terminal was opened in 1968, but since 1974 it has only been used by pigeons.
— Jan Banning, Utrecht, Netherlands
My photography tries to render the inner relationship I establish with the places I’m in. I like to think of it as biographical, as my interest is not just for the place itself but mainly for the way it affects me, urging me to press the shutter button.
My main body of work is a never-ending ongoing series from which other works branch off as I recognize a developing theme that I wish to investigate further.
— Andrea Lombardo, Genoa, Italy
We are at a critical juncture in our history. Never before have we been so disconnected from the symbiotic relationship that we need to have with our home, the earth. Our cavalier attitude toward the planet’s well being now brings into question the ability for humans to survive here.
Dominion explores the hubris of humanity in relation to the natural world. This series of photographs looks at how power and our collective ego undermine morality and the innate memory that we all have as to how things were — and how they should be.
— Joaquin Palting, Los Angeles
My current work involves the use of a drone-based camera to depict familiar structures and landscapes from a fresh or unusual perspective. Although many drone photos are taken at an angle, I prefer the direct down shot. I am particularly interested in built environments which are usually populated but not occupied when photographed. I like the way that the abstract structures complicate and interact with our sense of the absence of human beings. I have photographed quarries, livestock fields, junkyards, and other subjects, but I am especially drawn to play spaces, from tennis courts and playgrounds to swimming pools and amusement parks. Consumer drones have a limited carrying capacity, and getting an acceptable quality image with a GoPro camera can be a challenge. I replaced the original fisheye lens with a more rectilinear lens, and most images are stitched from a number of captures.
— Bob Gates, Jamesville, New York, USA
It was two years ago when under some special conditions I found myself driving everyday in the countryside of Crete carrying – as always – a camera with me, but shooting nothing the first week as I could not find ‘something interesting’ (aka human characters). After the first ‘shock’ I gradually started to shoot some landscapes and later, looking at the images at my computer’s screen, I discovered some common forms in them. Taking photos without people in them is not what defines my work – I would say it’s the other way around. So I was kind of surprised to have a set of images without any human presence in them.
— Haris Panagiotakopoulos, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
My work documents the memories and histories that are set in the landscapes that surround us.
My most recent work, The Last Stand, was researched and photographed over a four-year period. It looks at some of the remaining Second World War military coastal defences around the coastlines of Northern Europe, from Norway to the Franco-Spanish border and The Northern Isles of the UK.
— Marc Wilson, Bath, England
Sydney is defined by its suburban sprawl, and the series, Suburbex, captures the essence of exploration beyond the urban centre. I was born and raised in this endless patchwork of of homogenised residences, gritty industrial estates and soulless commercial centres. Growing up in this environment enabled me to appreciate the hidden beauty in what, at a superficial glance, might otherwise appear bleak and monotonous. Suburbex employs bold colours, shapes and contrasts in order to reveal the beauty in the bleak banality of Sydney’s endless suburbs.
— Michael Garbutt, Sydney, Australia