Spaces of urban, suburban, and industrial use have been crafted and designed with specific purpose in mind by their creators, i.e. us. They are planted into the natural landscape and allowed to rest there indefinitely. Eventually, they are no longer useful as the times, and the people, change. While in large cities real estate is constantly transforming, suburban and industrial space rarely moves in tandem with the people.
This relationship between places lost in malaise and communities unequipped to repurpose them is at the center of my photography. My aim is to document the nature of landscapes that are expired, misappropriated, and lost and to capture the transformative process as it takes place. In doing this I hope to show how this defines the communities that these places occupy.
— Alex Segal, New York City
The Ditch is a survey of a small area (approximately 9 acres) of land in the midst of development, photographed over an extended period of time; an exploration of the photographer’s potential role as archaeologist through the study of excavations and analysis of physical traces left on the landscape.
Although the development is mainly away from street frontage, the area is not archaeologically sterile. Previous archaeological interventions have revealed that the meadow is generally characterised by worked soils with only sparse evidence for occupation; medieval and later landscaping, backfilling and dumping.
Walking The Ditch I often encounter discarded materials; the foremost signs of a human presence besides the marks of machinery. These photographs call into question our complex relationship to the landscape; why is it that we examine remnants of the past with fascination, yet disregard present-day development and dumping as an eyesore; at what point does our detritus become artefact ?
Alex Howard, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, United Kingdom