Severn Beach line is a suburban railway line in Bristol, UK. The line was originally built for freight transportation from the Avonmouth docks to the city centre. In the end of the 19th century the railway opened passenger services from Bristol to Avonmouth and Severn Beach, becoming then a very popular train line.
The decline of British industries during the 1950s and 60s and the easy access to other modes of transport caused some difficulties to the railway. It saw a decrease in passenger numbers and for several times it was threatened of being closed. The train services were greatly reduced and all the stations along the line were shut down.
This body of work talks about the survival of a railway and explores the surroundings of the Severn Beach line. With this project I wanted to show what has been left from the railway’s past and how it now blends with the present condition of the line. With these images I make reference to the history of the railway and try to show some of the transformations occurred on Bristol’s urban and industrial landscapes over the years.
— Frederico Colarejo, Bristol, England, United Kingdom
Alarmed by the disaster of Fukushima, Germany’s government has proclaimed the “Energiewende,” a radical turnaround in its energy policy. Shifting the focus from fossil and nuclear to renewable energy sources is the biggest restructuring program since Germany’s reunification. In my graduation project, titled KRAFT/FELDER, I started documenting this long-term project which won’t be finished before 2050. I document both the current means of production as well as the transition towards renewable energy sources. I’m equally fascinated by the unfinished and the gigantic. In the heavily interest-driven day-to-day discussion about the policy I did sense a lack of a neutral and sober position –- a position photography is able to occupy like no other medium.
— Caspar Sessler, Bremen, Germany
The evidence of human intrusions into the visual landscape of Stockton Bight has included the shipwrecked Sygna’s stern which, although a tourist attraction since 1974, is gradually eroding close to shore.
Nearby, semi-permanent and held together as a consequence of native plant life… the dynamic dunes shift with the seasons. Granule by granule, these 32 kilometres of magnificent mounds are wind sculpted and encompass the largest continuous mobile coastal sand mass in the Southern Hemisphere.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, a small community of squatter shacks, nicknamed Tin City, was jury-rigged in the dunes. While today, as part of the ever increasing attempts to lure more holidayers duneside, resort accommodations are under construction behind perimeter fencing.
Will future developments progressively intrude on the terra-not-so-firma or will Nature steadily reclaim her beleaguered territory? Perhaps only time will tell.
— Didi S. Gilson, Anna Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Daugavpils, the second biggest city in Latvia, is located near the border with Belarus, Russia and Lithuania. This location has determined the development of the city’s cultural environment. Since 1209, Germany, Poland, Russia and Latvia have ruled Daugavpils. Constant socio-political changes have instigated migration of various nationalities, with different religions and cultural traditions to and from the city. Today, the society of Daugavpils is truly trans-cultural — a place where identities of these various groups have overlapped, merged and interwoven. This creates a unique cultural environments in Latvia.
As I started taking photos of Daugavpils in 2001, I sought to create a documentary story about the city and its people. I realized, however, that my photographs not only tell a story about Daugavpils, but also about myself, my experiences of walking and observing, the most important and most insignificant in the landscape, the things that cannot be explained, the stories revealed by strangers, the stories that I remember and forget, the nostalgic feeling evoked by remnants of the Soviet epoch in the cityscape.
The title of the series, L.S.D., is an abbreviation of Living Space Daugavpils. By creating a purportedly documentary story about the city, I nevertheless want to emphasize the incomprehensible and the unexplainable in the cityscape. For instance, a fence built from three green car doors that encircles a small vegetable garden, a freshly-painted blue water pump on the side of an unpaved road, and a brightly colored metal construction of obscure meaning in the courtyard of a block of flats. Many things in a city environment can often be rationally explained, frequently by the meager budget of the local municipality or its inhabitants. Yet many things are so odd that they appear irrational, coming from the deepest layers of collective unconsciousness. They have a hallucinatory quality.
— Alnis Stakle, Riga & Daugavpils, Latvia
The landscape becomes an object for some, a place for others, and a spiritual being for many. The vernacular landscape reflects humans’ place, point in time, and creates a barrier between what is fabricated and what is not. Through most of human history, many have entered the Wilderness and romanticize its beauty, critique its relation to personal aesthetic taste, or are chased out by its savageness. All the while we are entering a place, which is defined by an idea that we created ourselves through millennia of cultural evolution. Cultural geographer William Cronon stated, “We turn them (natural icons) into human symbols, using them as repositories for values and meanings which can range from the savage to the sacred. What we find in these places cannot help being profoundly influenced by the ideas we bring to them.”
Like romanticized landscapes in postcards of Niagara Falls, silver gelatin prints of Yosemite, and tales of adventure in remote jungles in Africa, we have very similar methods in beautifying the human form. My project, Constructed Paradise, employs mannequins as a surrogate for mankind. Like the myth of a purely pristine wilderness, mannequins represent unattainable physical perfection in an unblemished human form. Embedded in both the Wilderness and the mannequin is an illusion of purity and perfection.
There is a disconnect between the human world and the non-human world. The struggle to understand how we as humans are compelled to coexist with nature today holds subjective but urgent recognition.
— Marc Newton, Savannah, Georgia, USA
While wandering through towns from British Columbia to Louisiana, I find myself captivated by trees. We take this living plant and carve, prune and decorate it. We also take the surface of an exterior wall and imagine the tree upon it.
The tree is a potent symbol. It can suggest beauty and happiness, protection and strength, or balance and healing. Individual trees represent very particular characteristics. The elm is intuition; the aspen determination; the willow magic and dreams.
In an urban habitat trees may survive and even thrive. They can spring from cracks in concrete, reaching up to light and life. In curious combinations, renderings of trees sometimes sit beside the living plant. Other times the painted tree is hidden in grimy alleys and parking lots. The tree’s deep relationship with us, like its living branches or sketched leaves, remains both real and imagined.
Ann Kendellen, Portland, Oregon, USA
Tempus Incognitus explores the transitory nature of modern life using hotel rooms in which time and space fade into one another. These images challenge our intuition about time itself and ask about the stories held within these walls. Think Edward Hopper interiors awash in James Turrell colors with David Lynch directing. These hotel rooms lack personal effects to invite a narrative.
Tempus Incognitus records the day’s transitional times and shows them existing concurrently. The Cubists painted individual scenes from several different perspectives at once. In this series, I photograph individual rooms at several different times of day from a single perspective.
I use a time-intensive technique that captures the evolution of light and emphasizes change in vivid colors. Multiple exposures are taken over two days and images are created in camera and on film with no digital manipulation. Each image is composed of three to nine exposures. Only the light in the room is used — no colored lights or gels are added.
— Brad Carlile, New York City & Portland, Oregon, USA
These images are not landscapes in the traditional sense but rather appropriations of the seasonal textures, colors and shapes from a unique locale — Emigrant Lake, Oregon. By squaring these elements within the camera frame, an order is highlighted which weds the local gestalt of a small niche of the landscape with the photographer’s search for a familiar compositional order or in rare instances his discovery of a previously unrecognized or unappreciated natural order.
I think of archetypal psychologist James Hillman’s book The Soul’s Code and his examination of the “innate image” or personal daemon as it informs our unique and individual callings in life.
As I was seeing and taking them, the photos were about design and composition, but from another perspective, were an unfolding theme, a very early chapter of which I remember from my childhood in Holley, New York. For several years, late into the winter season after unseasonably warm weather had melted the snow, I was six or seven and, wearing my grandfather’s fishing boots, would wade through the ankle deep water in an overgrown and untended orchard behind my grandparents’ house, fascinated with little scenarios of tangled branches, mounds of dead wood and sandstone boulders cleared and piled years ago. It is not too different from my experience, in many ways, of taking this series of images of this one particular location, an artificial lake which rises and falls seasonally, gradually, imperceptibly, flooding the riparian areas, creating equivalent (but necessarily different) gestalts to which I respond, when I can see them, by recording their image. Rather than viewing this particular manifestation of a creative process as sequentially related to childhood experience in a cause and effect way, it is personally and creatively more satisfying to consider both in relation to the currents and eddies of my own daemon which calls me to this task of exploration, looking and seeing over the course of a lifetime.
— Jeff Krolick, Ashland, Oregon, USA
This series, titled Waypoints, began with a simple desire to revisit some of the territory along the Pacific Coast that I had enjoyed in my childhood. Along the way, it quickly became much less about memory and much more about capturing the essential spirit of each random, unplanned stop along the way.
These waypoints are the record of my journeys.
— Douglas Ethridge, Tahuya, Washington, USA
I am one of those lucky enough to have grown up in a declining, industrial Northern town in England, albeit one with a little notoriety, due to the containment of a curse word within its name. I have since visited, and will continue to visit, many towns like it. I would like to think that we are all shaped and influenced by our surroundings, however it seems to be part of the British DNA to be cynical about such places, and unless we are told something is beautiful, it is inevitably a “shithole.”
I fell in love with photography as it enabled me to make what I thought were beautiful images, and this is still what, deep down, keeps it so close to my heart. However, am I trying to capture something beautiful within something so often considered the opposite, to show that beauty and worth can be found anywhere? Or am I trying to look for beauty where none can be found? Do I love this Island, or am I trying to expose its weaknesses and strange principles? I’m not sure, but I’m enjoying my efforts to find out, so I’ll keep finding crappy towns to wander, and maybe someday I’ll discover the answer.
— Jonathan Salmon, Bradford, Yorkshire, United Kingdom