The images in this collection, Numinous Landscapes, were all made while traveling from Paris to Lake Como by rail, a mode of transport that offers the traveler a fleeting window on the world.
As I enter into the cadence of a rail journey, it reveals itself in numinous landscapes that transcend ordinary space and time. I become mesmerized by scenes that pass by like the animated flickering of an old movie background. Though I am the one “rushing by,” it seems that I am sitting still, beholding a tableau of light and landscape that is magical in its impermanence, never to be seen the same way again.
I feel connected to these scenes—their strength in nature and how they overshadow the fragility of human endeavor or accomplishment. There’s a social and historic chiaroscuro effect that takes place as I am transported through scene after scene.
The word “landscape” originates from the Dutch word meaning “landship.” For me, a train is the mode of conveyance—the landship—that illuminates the truth of landscape in all of its complexity and flux.
— Greg Caldwell, Seattle, Washington, USA
Trees and Concrete is an ongoing body of work that reveals the unexpected landscape of Brooklyn, New York. Ambiguous and interchangeable, these spaces came to consciousness only through the process of leaving, traveling and intermittently returning to my place of birth. Deceptively still and lush landscapes emerged amidst spaces of unavoidable human presence. These areas, tucked between buildings, along cross-streets and the outskirts of the borough appear, redefining the distinct landscape of my former home.
I was born and raised in a distinguishable urban setting, which to the eyes of any outsider can hold visual symbolism and impressions that differed from my own experience. Yet I was no different, as my ideas of anywhere beyond the radius of my home made me an outsider as soon as I crossed those boundaries. During my times away, I found myself traveling on the road for extended durations, engaging with what initially felt like foreign landscapes. As these journeys prolonged, my homecomings slowly became informed by the new places I had been. Walking the streets of Brooklyn was no longer filled solely with the memories of my childhood, rather blended with visual impressions from all the places I had been during my absence. For me, a new landscape emerged.
— Tracy Fish, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA
This series of images, titled Moving, seeks to disclose the impact on the natural, which has become the urban environment of Melbourne, Australia.
Like anything, there are a series of steps that need to be followed in order for something to work properly. If this city continues to develop at the rate it is, it’s going to need to realise the desperate need for change before other consumption requirements are satisfied.
Throughout this series, each image belongs to a certain stage of human requirement where we need to sacrifice things, such as space and climate in order for us to continue our lives.
From the mining of earth to obtain and burn coal to generate electricity. Industrial materials to be made possible, where the left overs get buried back into the earth, compressed to capture the methane gasses, which is in turn generated back into more energy.
There are lots of efforts being made to put things back on the right path, yet nothing will make as much effect as resetting the entire system to something that actually works.
The effects of what we see now are from the mid 1970’s. It’s an eye opening moment to imagine what occurred during the 1980’s that will take effect on the world in the future. I hope this series helps viewers globally to realize what’s going on behind close doors to the place we call home.
— Tim Allen, Melbourne, Australia
Off the Road is a personal documentary project about the elements between the past and the present which are composed of details that tell a story through the regional landscape. I search for elements in different routes which in some way are left behind on the side of the road. These details are personal statements which differ from each other, though functioning as a one common and living space.
— Orestis Seferoglou, Athens, Greece
Thanatophobia, or the human fear of death, is overweighted by the sense of belonging. The notion of homeland or home with its greater form (geographical or emotional). The word nostos is leading us to the creation of the word nostalgia. The ache of nostos. The pain of return. The defeat of death. But if the home is not defined then nostos is continuous and painful.
— Ioanna Chronopoulou, Athens, Greece
This series is a fictional, non-linear narrative that deals with notions of romance, a geographical stopping point, dystopian landscapes and Ancient Egyptian beliefs in the afterlife.
— Justin Clifford Rhody, Oakland, California, USA
I was asked to participate in a group show for emerging photographic artists in Melbourne, Australia. The working title for the show was: In Flux. I have included the conceptual brief below:
With a focus on calm states and the notion of being in flux this exhibition will involve work that allows for meditation and melancholy, a patient and experiential based collection that will encourage visitors to linger in the sensations of each work. The exhibition will give attention to water, movement, the notion of being fluid and the importance of breath.
I’m the House-Dude. The Stay-At-Home Dad. These days jumping in the car with a 3 year old and a bag full of camera gear isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. Kiss goodbye to any thoughts of quiet artistic pursuits. So these works were made with found materials and in still life tradition, assembled on the kitchen table close to the TV and Peppa Pig.
The initial interest for me within the In Flux theme was the depiction of “stillness” in a landscape context.
Ikebana, Sumi-e ink painting and turn of the century portraiture were the main influences. I was also interested in the traditional presentation of Chinese scroll paintings and the tokonoma viewing space.
These works continue my fascination for landscape. They remind that geology and flora are In constant evolutionary Flux.
Cultural shifts add to the Flux with the tree pictured (with needle like leaves) known by indigenous people as the Wayetuk or Gneering tree and most recently as the Drooping She-oak.
These images are for me unexpectedly autobiographical and simply represent that quiet space, somewhere away from Peppa Pig.
— Mat Hughes, Melbourne, Australia
I am primarily interested in documenting the everyday world around me, with a particular interest in landscapes featuring human interventions that visually activate their surroundings in strangely compelling ways. I am drawn to spaces that convey surreal or fictitious narratives, fortuitously photogenic environments that I try to carefully document rather than photographically exaggerate. Some of my work also explores the notion of place in the context of my dual citizenship of Australia and the UK. Often my Australian landscapes are shot under the soft light of overcast days, conditions more in keeping with my younger days in England – the muted tones portray an evenly balanced sense of place: an Australian scene with an “English” sky. Occasionally I will throw all of the above out of the window and experiment with something new.
— Chris Round, Sydney, Australia
Once Upon a Time on the Island of the Minotaur
Crete’s strategic location exposed the island to siege and piracy continuously during the centuries. This fact pushed local people to the mountainous interior of the island to protect themselves from the pirates’ assaults across the seaside.
More or less until the 1970’s, when tourism appeared here, the Cretans’ character, life and customs were much more related to the mountains rather than the sea. These photos are a kind of observation at the dyadic nature of the Minotaur’s island, this key-shaped mountain that was planted in the Mediterranean sea.
— Charalampos Kydonakis, Rethymnon, Crete, Greece
Welcome Guests is a series that I made between 2012 and 2013, which were the years that I lived in America for the first and the second time.
It’s a collection of pictures I took around the United States: documents and letters that I found and things that were given to me and I always had while I was traveling, such as a picture of Death Valley in California and a note that reminded me that I was really far away from home — or its concept.
It was mostly a way for me to play with photography, while I was working on my series Something is Missing, using an iPhone, 35mm cameras and a digital one. I was trying to work on feelings and emotions related to the instability of the act of always moving and the chaos of unsettled situations.
The experience you are suppose to have with these series is a sense of confusion and dislocation, through a representation of mundane and banal actions and experiences: there is a picture of a man cutting the grass, people who walks their dogs, a picture of a cup of coffee, one of a diner, a scanning of a picture of a typical American family house.
— Eleonora Agostini, Venice, Italy
Between June 2006 and June 2012 I returned to live in Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, where I had spent my childhood. I found myself living in the Medianías, an area with ancient agricultural tradition and where part of my upbringing took place. Each farmland had at least one pond or reservoir to capture rainwater for irrigation. Most of them are now obsolete, abandoned and highly dilapidated by the passage of time, bacterial action and weather conditions.
From the outside they are just ugly, functionally built structures. But peer inside and you will find these hidden landscapes: locked up lakes, frozen fjords, jungles, fortresses, meadows, forests… breathtaking beauty concealed to all behind their rough outer shell. A contained territory within another territory.
To me they are imaginary lands, psychological landscapes, projections and reflections of my own state of mind.
— Marisa Culatto, Hertford, United Kingdom
Land of Smiles is a quiet, surreal exploration of Thailand’s everyday architecture and landscapes.
I have spent a considerable amount of time in Thailand over the past five or so years (my wife is from Bangkok). Still, I remain an outsider and am fascinated by many aspects of the landscape that most Thais would never think twice about. The images featured here focus on the accidentally sculptural fluorescent bulb streetlights and nightscapes of rural Thailand.
Land of Smiles takes you on a walking tour in a dream-state. This is Thailand as few people will ever see it (especially in light of the political turmoil and chaos of the past decade).
— Chris Mottalini, Brooklyn, New York, USA
This series of photographs is born from my need to grant myself some moments in which to get out and explore the landscape in solitude for a few hours. Without a planned route or a clear destination, but with only the need for isolation and taking pictures, I always return to the same places over and over again by establishing a special relationship with them like a personal microcosm. The exploration and the relationship between place and memory become fundamental elements in the formation of a personal identity. The explored landscape is where I was born, grew up and in which I live: a part of the Padan Plains that extend from the countryside of “la bassa” (low plain) to the right banks of the River Po. In order to describe the different areas of land, I have adopted a distinctive look for each one. In the countryside I used tobacco sunset filters and as I get closer to the river the photos turn to a yellow-green color.
— Franco Monari, Modena, Italy
Unborn Cities is a body of work that explores the architectural structures and physical growth of new cities located in inner-mainland China. Unlike many Western cities that begin as small developments and grow in accordance to the local industries, gathering community and history as they age, these areas are built to the point of near completion before introducing people. Because of this, there is an interim period between the final phases of development and when the areas become noticeably populated, during which many of the buildings stand empty, waiting.
During this phase of development, sensationalist Western media often describes these areas as defunct “ghost cities,” which fails to recognize that they are built on an urban model, timeline, and scale that is unprecedented in speculation and simply unfamiliar to the methods of Western urbanization. Using large-scale photographs that look at the architecture and sites of development within these cities and “new areas,” I emphasize both the vast growth and physical scale of these spaces, making enigmatic images that reflect the shifted sense of reality felt in a city that has yet to be inhabited by the people it was built for; a city without a city (有城⽆市) that, at present, seems more like an architectural model than a place for living.
— Kai M. Caemmerer, Chicago, Illinois, USA
This is a story of Aberdeen, a personal and subjective impression of this northern city. Bounded by two river mouths, the North Sea and vast green stretches of land, it is often described as the Granite City, though others say it is silver. It is also the energy capital of Europe. The label I feel is the most accurate is the ‘Grey City’. A ubiquitous landscape has been created by the silver granite and a matching sky: this evokes an atmosphere of gloom. I cannot see the glamour as described by others; what I am attracted to are the things that are seemingly commonplace, things which many may see as unimportant and mundane. The silver remains but is becoming stained, a patina encroaching. I am an outsider and I see it as an outsider will, free from nostalgia, raw.
— Blazej Marczak, Aberdeen, Scotland