Autobiogeography investigates the temporal and interconnected makeup of both geography and personal experience.
Aboriginal Australians used toas, typically made of wood and gypsum, as sign posts to mark the direction of departure from a campsite so that others could follow. My 8×10 contact prints present found marks as toas, suggesting that place is itself temporally layered, a palimpsest of the multiple traces left by individuals and groups. These impressions are sometimes literally embedded within the landscape, such as raccoon tracks in the earth and the evidence of human passage, or commemorate a natural event, including a boar’s passing and the death of an animal. Autobiography and geography converge and each image indicates a location of personal experience while offering an intertextual investigation of the landscape. The marks, whether literal or transient, reveal the land as a repository of historical memory, of traces of a past and their complex connections to other places and peoples. Autobiogeography infers from the land a sense of dynamic interaction that spans from pre-historic times into the present. Each print, a toas itself, unfolds the personal psyche and connection that we all have to the world around us.
— Allison Barnes, Savannah, Georgia, USA
My photographs are not about making precious and unique views of particular human phenomena, but the texture of the common-scape of humanity that can be seen through the fabrics of urban spaces; attentive to the details of landscapes that extract significance from their banality, a prescription that uncovers the essence of informal spaces. My investigations are on the ‘back office’ of current social and political movements, the neglected genius of everyday life of every day’s citizens in our cities.
City is the most complete and truthful history of ourselves, and at the same time, the greatest film ever made and will be made. Within its innumerable stages, we are all directors, actors and audiences simultaneously. Within this on-going screenplay of urban spaces, I collect the traces of life that oscillates between hope and crisis.
The method and intent of my documentary practice is born from a process of self-reflection, my personal search for identity, poetry and politics.
— Anthony Hamboussi, New York City
One story at a time, This Chinese Life portrays the complex intersection of diverse peoples and cultures within varied landscapes. This project is an exploration of how the Chinese impact their environment, the varied terrain they inhabit and the way traditions are carried on simultaneously with the openings of new roads that bring about modernization and new ways of living. In my work, I observe contemporary Chinese perspectives, focusing on the surrounding landscape, immediate domestic environments, and my family ties after decades of separation. To me, the term “Chinese” does not have a fixed or a single meaning, but rather is a fluid concept that may change depending on the context. There are common denominators underlying the layers of This Chinese Life. Many people are bound by the borders that contain the landscape and/or the thousands of years of restless yet “common” history. Through the many miles, roads, villages, towns and cities I have traveled in China, what I have experienced is the multitude of stories that make up This Chinese Life. This is not a complete tale or anthology, but fragments of my Chinese life and the stories of those that I encounter.
— Rona Chang, Jackson Heights, New York & Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, USA
All across the world a uniform, homogeneous model of development, inspired by Los Angeles style urban sprawl – consisting of massive freeways, parking lots, shopping malls and large-scale master-planned communities with golf courses – is being stamped onto the earth’s topography. With this anonymous type of development not only comes the destruction of the environment, but also a loss of culture and roots, as well as alienation. This globalized model of architecture does not respect or adapt itself to the natural or cultural environment onto which it is implanted. As we have seen in recent history, fervent overdevelopment has led to crises, not only financial, but also environmental and social, and some even say psychological.
I began working on Anonymization in Los Angeles over twelve years ago. Since then I have been traveling around the world photographing the spread of “L.A. style development” in Las Vegas, Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Dubai and South Korea. The world was in the midst of a construction boom when I began the project. In the meantime most cranes have come to a screeching halt.
— Robert Harding Pittman, Madrid, Spain
Twice a day for ten years, formerly with my companion Barney the dog, I walked a circular route along this small stretch of river close to my home in northern England, often in the pouring rain, frequently in the freezing pitch dark.
I calculate that, taking occasional absences into account, we walked this route approximately nine thousand times.
The river marks a boundary between the city and the arable (farm) lands and is not only a favourite spot for the dumping and burning of stolen cars or for junkies to hang out; but is also used by dog walkers (myself included) and as an adventure playground for the local kids. For many it is invisible, a non-place passed by on the way to greater treasures in the city or the countryside real and as such becomes its own place free of any expectations of ever being more than it is.
— John Darwell, Carlisle, United Kingdom
Beside the Seaside explores the complex relationship between time and place. In winter, seaside resorts lie dormant and quiet: ghost towns haunted by nature. Only echoes of the vibrant summer past remain, bringing promise and hope for summers to come. My photographs try to capture this feeling and convey the quiet and lonely beauty of the places I visit. I use film and hand print my own photographs. This allows me to stay connected to the whole photographic process.
— Andrew G. Fisher, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Techniques can change over time, but there is a thing which varies hardly with years: it is the topic of an artist, who finally reflects our personality, what is really in us.
To me, photography is a solitary act: it is necessary to be involved in the place, to be forgotten, and to become soaked with it perfectly. My images are generally melancholic, and oneiric, but without artifice. There is in my subjects a share of mystery which I can’t even reveal to myself. I try to provoke a feeling, a mood.
My calm temperament is translated in my rather harmonious, more uncluttered compositions, and quietness. Silence reigns on these places, as if they had been deserted, but human is never far away and some proofs come to testify of his activity. I like this contrast, questioning me on the humankind’s place in a pre-established nature.
— Stanley Bloom, Paris, France
We see the suburbs as ugly; we lament the loss of natural beauty.
We rush around by day filling every second, yet feeling completely unfulfilled.
And while we sleep wondering what it’s all about and perhaps dreaming of what once was,
the silent beauty of the landscape returns; altered, yet still there.
People have described my work as dark and menacing, with a foreboding quality, but I think this is more to do with the viewer’s own perceptions, formed by influences like human nature, upbringing and a paranoid media; which push the idea that bad things happen at night. For me, these are places that have a certain magic to them, rather than menace.
While the urban landscape is full of activity by day with people and cars, my photos are absent of these so as not to distract the viewer. There is a distinct absence of people because human nature first draws our attention to figures, and away from the landscape. The focus of my photography isn’t on people but on place, on the landscape itself.
My series, Suburbs at Night, is an ongoing exploration started in 2009 that attempts
to seek out these spaces and the landscape that remains, although forever changed, still timeless.
— Ben Kelly, Melbourne, Australia