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
Consciousness is the key to escape geographical confinement. When one has no place, but permeates the Universe, the concepts of near and far away disappear.
Curiously, if we join the words “now” and “here”, the two pillars of the state of consciousness, we form the word “nowhere.”
— Angela Sairaf, Madrid, Spain
Hamburg, Pennsylvania, USA
I use photography to document the ambiguity of preconceived ideas versus the expectation of the viewer. I am primarily interested in the construction of narrative, the autobiographical tendency of the medium and dualities.
Milan New Mexico is an ongoing series that explores the phenomenon of North American towns using borrowed names from other cities of the world. This project uses photography, research and mapping to explore the connection between these new cities as well as their relationship with preconceived notions concerning their esthetic, North American culture and biculturalism. As a Canadian-Italian, this body of work allows to interrogate my own sense of belonging and bicultural identity. These towns can be seen as a metaphor for the children of immigrants. There is a parallel between how we perceived these individuals and our expectations of these towns. Similarly this project examines how we expect and project certain cultural elements based on their provenance. How did these hundreds of towns appear all across North America? What connection can be drawn between these cities? How are expectations of specific cultures shaped? How does this play in a broader sense of stereotyping visual cultural identity? How do these images shape our understanding of North American spaces?
— Frederic Bigras-Burrogano, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Bristol, Georgia, USA
Milan, New Mexico, USA
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Acting as a mirror in the sky, the remote-sensing satellite allows us to observe the unprecedented growth of humanity and to appreciate the complex systems of the natural world. It reflects the immense power that people, whether in the form of governments or corporations, have over land. From international boundary lines, to visible signs of climate change, the endless spans of industrial agriculture or the deforestation of almost entire continents; it is beautiful and terrifying in its immensity.
The satellite image presents a pivotal opportunity for change as it prompts us to see and approach our problems and solutions in a new way. Looking down upon ourselves the satellite allows us to be conscious of our actions as never before.
The raw image data for these satellite images are downloaded from NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite. I combine several different grey scale images together to create a false color image. The images in this series represent some of the world’s most geopolitically controversial areas. A written story accompanies each image in the gallery installation and can be read on my website.
— Jeremy J. Starn, Barkhamsted, Connecticut, USA
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
“Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.’’
— Albert Schweitzer
The argument of nature’s resource exploitation and excavation, as well as the destruction and environmental devastation of landscapes, has long been one of high concern. However the environmental effects of this are not always so visible or apparent. The power of images has proven itself many times, through either activism or conservation photography in the style of photojournalism or documentation. Photography influences the viewer’s mind and teaches about the issues presented in the image — it is the idea that it portrays something real and therefore true, and inherently has the ability to document a perceived reality.
The series Iceland is a prime example of the type of landscape documentary that is so fundamental to raising awareness about environmental degradation. Iceland is one of the fastest-warming places on the planet. The glaciers that cover more than 10 percent of the island are losing an average of 11 billion tons of ice a year.
Driving around the south coast of Iceland, I have witnessed the immense retreat of glaciers, revealing only gravel for miles, creating a different kind of landscape: new black lava cliffs. Climate change is heavily affecting Iceland as it is rising due to the accelerated melting of ice caps, resulting in the uplifting from the Earth at a rate of up to 1.4 inches per year, causing more and more volcanic eruptions.
Through photographic documentation, I hope to reveal the immense beauty that is Iceland, so unique and other worldly, to raise awareness for this diminishing and ever-changing country.
— Elena Cremona, London
Whole is a contemplative photographic narrative from natural places. When alone off paths in natural places I experience a personal tranquility and an opportunity for quiet introspection. The forest, its rivers and the sea speak to me about life in all of its glory and all of its sadness. I sense the existence of parallels between the mysteries I feel there and the puzzles of my own life. I find the discourse calming. I take pleasure from the personal insight and enigmatic impressions I gain from these special occasions.
— Ken Hochfeld, Portland, Oregon, USA
I am interested in transition. I see and try to absorb the landscape, rural and urban, my garden, the forest, the wide open, the horizon. Sometimes I respond to the formal aspects of design placed within or possibly growing out of a landscape, at other times I try to make some sense of the apparent chaos in nature and respond to that challenge. In observing these transitions, I seek out the history, the future and the things that seem to be hanging in between or simply the here and now – the present but changing state.
These images show a coal mine which closed over thirty years ago. The mine is a museum, the community has just about gone and slowly the houses are being boarded up to prior to their destruction, finally being crushed to become hardcore, forming a new seam of solid foundation to support a luxury housing landscape.
— Terence Lane, Nottingham, England
The project Versilaina originates from the observation of the landscape near the place where I live, a close exploration of more or less familiar places. Walking is the essential instrument for this process, as a primary symbolic action aimed at transforming the space surrounding us; walking as an esthetic practice as well as a possibility of establishing new relationships with the landscape around us.
— Luca Moretti, Pisa, Italy
These images are from a series of photographs of Denge, the swamped site of the poignant ruins of three concrete ears used to detect aircraft for a few months in 1932, until radar and gravel extraction left them to drown. It is part of the larger sparsely populated and hyper-fertile Romney Marsh, which harbours a discordant smattering of sonic, nautical, aeronautical, industrial, logistical, military, botanical, and inexplicable relics and activities.
— Pessons Vest, Brighton, England
Two years ago, I found myself living in the middle of Bergen County and struggling to make sense of it.
Bergen County is the most populous county in New Jersey, the most densely-populated state in the United States. Located in the northeastern corner of the state, Bergen County is part of the New York City Metropolitan Area (unless you’re a New Yorker), and is situated directly across the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan.
It’s a strange place — the county has the strictest blue laws in the country (all non-essential commerce is banned on Sunday), no one uses their turn signals, and most people commute into New York City. Bergen county is home to the town of Paramus, the largest shopping destination in the country. Paramus’ zip code (07652) generates over five billion dollars in annual retail sales, even though all of the stores are closed on Sunday.
— Andrew Frost, Teaneck, New Jersey, USA
The T7 line connects Villejuif to Athis Mons and carries about 30,000 people a day. The French landscape that flows beyond the windows marks the daily life of its people and determines its rhythm.
The succession of images during the route create a constantly moving urban landscape, whose outlines are not well defined.
Our sight — and therefore the camera — captures everything that appears in front of us without the time to provide a selection. It’s not the aesthetic beauty of the place that moves us, rather it’s the several sets that appear and disappear by simply leaving elusive, yet recognizable tracks — since they belong to our visual and mental knowledge.
Roads, parking lots, malls, offices, hotels, work and leisure places impose themselves in what seems at first an insignificant scene, giving life to a sort of game in which one tries to put together the several visual pieces of a story that repeats itself but which constantly changes at the same time.
— Roberto Bianchi, Sanremo, Italy