The photograph above belongs to a series called Island, which is an exercise of exploration. Coming from southern Europe, the Caribbean island turns into an alien space, where everyday objects lose all meaning. In less than 20 square kilometers, we witness a parade of disconnected pieces: the signs of local history and the constant European and North American presence scattered throughout the exuberant jungle. The tropical paradise is still there, although partially hidden behind an infrastructure that no longer seems to belong to any particular place.
Landscape represents here an endless canvas; it is a concept by and of itself. In fact, the interactions that derive from the place and, therefore, from the images, do not matter. The place and the camera are both tools of personal research, almost biographical.
— Juande Jiménez, Malaga, Spain
In this project, titled Even the Mountains are Shells, I chose to focus on the idea of boundary and co-existence between the built and natural environment. I also wanted to convey a feeling of the relative isolation and the at times difficult way of life. With the traditional income streams gone and a heavy reliance on tourism the balance is finely weighted. It was only through repeated visits that I began to notice the subtle cracks in the tourist picture. Things that a casual visitor wouldn’t pay a great deal of attention to I made my focus. The title of the work references the empty shop fronts, encroachment of nature and the notion of the land as a commodity, reliant on man to be re-imagined to another use. There is also an element of my own personal response to the area. Having made a previous project (Cynefin) in the same place I wanted to see things from a different perspective.
— John Wellings, Swansea, Wales, UK
This work is driven by the need to study the blinding normalcy of the present.
Blind Views depicts everyday urban scenes in different cities and investigates the ways in which buildings, signs, monuments and streets influence the way we live and apprehend our environment. I rely on the specificity of the photographic trace to reveal the political, historical and economic importance of these markers.
The series documents the visual infrastructure of spaces that come across as neutral, but that are actually heavily mediated by culture. I am also interested in the aesthetic transformation of a place by the mere act of picturing it.
— Arturo Soto, Panama City, Panama
Duplex, flat, pad, or paradise, the nuances of apartment life are a complex affair. This ongoing project, titled Complex, takes a personal trajectory and documents interior and exterior spaces of the apartment block where I reside. The images in the series take in to account the manner in which this living space is purposefully ordered or mapped out for residents. Here then exists an environment where inhabitants must always push doors, not pull, turn left, not right, lock gates, close doors, stay quiet, secure possessions. Occupiers seduced by potential garden spaces soon discover that such expanses are often only mediated from first or second floor windows, with such luxuries available in real terms to occupants who reside on the ground floor.
At the other end of the spectrum, the project registers the subtle tensions and forms of resistance frequently observed as I negotiate these spaces on a day-to-day basis. These clues are evidenced by the manner in which users attempt to personalise “their” space, or alternatively, often take shape and form in abandoned possessions scattered sporadically in communal thoroughfares. While such abandoned belongings plainly suggest a lack of respect for these collective spaces, they simultaneously present insights in to the lives of fellow occupants who are rarely seen and heard.
— Miriam O’Connor, Dublin, Ireland
These photographs are taken in locations that were used as IRA training camps during the 1970’s. There is a political and emotional ambivalence to what at first seem to be natural landscapes as they exist today, but which have fragments and traces hidden beneath the visible surface, disappearing from the landmark yet still flowing through the collective memory — surviving on a latent, unseen level somewhere between stasis and change… between wanting to remember and trying to forget.
This work looks at how a political situation can fuse with a physical landscape and asks to what depth it can tell us about past and present human experience. In doing so it reveals aspects of the social and political context of Northern Ireland, of intimacy and unease and of the highest and lowest peaks in the spectrum of human experience. It asks how an external environment can affect inner states of consciousness and how history can manifest and conceal itself within a place.
This project is an attempt to express and explore how feelings and personal experience can be communicated, to emotionally identify with my father and to connect on a different level. The work addresses identity, memory and place and asks how history is handed down from generation to generation, contrasting the “objective truth” of the photograph with the oral tradition of story telling — times and places become merged together with fragments of truth and multiple truths existing in one situation.
— Paddy Kelly, Belfast, Ireland