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
In any given landscape there are moments which tell a story about a place and the people that dwell there. In a metropolis or a ghost town these moments of loneliness and abandonment can be looked over or forgotten. It is in these spaces that there is an opportunity to see and understand the world in a different way. By exploring, collecting and photographing the world as an archaeologist or detective gives intensity to the seemingly banal and ordinary.
By pairing photographs of these deserted and abandoned environments with found personal items it provides fertile ground for narratives to emerge. The items collected are items one might find in a family album or desk drawer and provides a strong connection to the missing figure.
The types of spaces that are captured range greatly from the haunted skeletal frame of a failed dream house to a forgotten city by a manmade sea that has a vibrant past. The ghostly representation of the locations exposes moments of quietness, sadness, and abandonment.
— Julie Gautier-Downes, Spokane, Washington, USA
Growing up in Los Angeles 50 years ago left impressions on me that have lasted a lifetime. My current series of work draws on early experiences and tries to elaborate and refine them in a way that draws on the strengths of photography.
Many years ago I used a large format camera and learned with Ansel at my side (his books) and became very much in tune with the careful, contemplative approach the equipment and medium required. I have to admit I had qualities that resonated with the large format camera and they became more distinctive and refined over time. After 30 years away from the camera I have resumed working with renewed passion.
I hope you get a sense of what excites and is important to me through my work. Generally I seem to be attracted to complex things and the challenge of finding the right degree of order within the frame.
— Steve McCausland, Long Beach, California, USA
The ongoing project, The Region, investigates and documents the development of Northwest Indiana; a conglomerate of cities that form part of the Chicago metropolitan area, the Calumet Region, as it is commonly called — or “the Region” for short — is home to around one million people. But more notably it is a place where nature and humanity take a backseat to manufacturing environment created for our creations.
I choose the night atmosphere with an absence of human life as a means of drawing attention to the infrastructure that characterizes the landscape of the region. Power lines cut through nearly every image, and telephone poles and factory smokestacks outnumber the few scattered trees. The scale has grown beyond that of the domestic as power plants and highway overpasses tower over playgrounds and single-family homes. It is as if the real act of living had become an after-thought to the operations that facilitate our way of life.
With factories situated beside marinas and baseball fields, the implements of industry seem to be out of place, and in some of the photos, one gets the sense we are seeking to protect ourselves from our own creations: fences and barriers punctuate most of these settings and an eerie, perpetual light bathes everything, leaving no dark corners.
— James Rotz, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
The project Spazio Sazio (Saturated Space) stems from the idea that everyday places have a lot to say, and that their features constitute a delicate, sentimental geography. Colors become geometry and support the structure of memory. I often wander around, taking pictures, and I’m fascinated by the links that are established between different locations, connected by recurrent patterns: lines, curves and tones (dis)harmony make them universal, despite retaininig their amazing uniqueness. Fragments reveal, potentially, all the stories of the world, regardless of time and space.
— Stefano Compagnucci, Rome, Italy
My work is concerned mainly with places, objects, and the way these interact. In particular I am interested in the apparent dialogue between the elements of human-altered environments. Although my work contains few representations of the human form, I believe people constitute a major element of my images through the way in which they alter their environment and create idiosyncrasies.
My current project examines the Lee Valley, near my home in northeast London. It aims to depict places in which nature and the human-made environment co-exit in an area which, while only a few miles from central London, has an air of abandonment, mystery, and occasional menace.
— Gareth Walsh, London
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