In this series, called Crowded Slopes, I explore the tension between man’s attempt to shape the alpine environment and our vulnerability confronted with an inability to control its natural forces.
In contrast with 19th century romantics who were awed by the mysterious power of nature and poignantly aware of man’s relative insignificance, the expanding leisure class of the past century has attempted to tame these forces and create a recreational safety zone.
Ski resorts with easy accessibility, urban density and architecture, snowmaking, piste grooming and avalanche blasting, create an illusion of security. The predictability bordering on absurdity of human behavior is apparent in skiers’ desire to herd together, move as a pack and remain within a comfort zone, avoiding ‘forbidden’ areas.
As a microcosm of human behavior, this highlights man’s urge to socialise, colonise and dominate versus the romantic quest for solitary and contemplative experiences.
—Dede Johnston, London
“Observe the street, from time to time,
with some concern for system perhaps.
Apply yourself. Take your time.
Note down the place: the terrace of café near the junction
of Rue de Bac and the Boulevard Saint Germain
the time: seven o’ clock in the evening
the date: 15 May 1973
the weather: set fair
Note down what you can see. Anything worthy of note going on.
Do you know how to see what’s worthy of note?
Is there anything that strikes you?
Nothing strikes you. You don’t know how to see”
— quote from Georges Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces
— Giacomo Streliotto, Padua, Italy
These photographs are part of an on-going project entitled You Seem To Be Where I Belong.
This is a personal survey of contemporary Canada as I encounter it. Peering around unassuming corners and down quiet roads, these images present an unexpected view on how our sometimes out-of-date and sometimes out-of-place occupation of the Canadian landscape connects and brings us together as a society.
Having grown up in a small town in Northern Ontario, these images recall memories of my childhood, when the ideology of the landscape and built environment was not always based on something new, well-designed, or planned.
In this work I am investigating the notions of place, identity and memory in Canada, through representations of human presence and activity in disparate geographic locations and built environments. Through these images I am attempting to uncover the ways in which our relationships to our environments define who we are both individually, and as a society.
At its essence, this body of work is a reflection on the Canadian landscape and small town life – laying bare a country that is in one light authentic and charming, and in another troubled and enigmatic.
– Jason Brown, Toronto, Canada
The focus in Outskirts is on the outskirts of Rome and its new districts. They are so similar to each other. So different from what foreigners think of Rome. There are new residential areas with almost no public services, growing next to huge shopping malls. Desolate corners. Temporary limitations. Improvised dumps.
The lights of the lampposts are almost the only incarnation of public services. The glow in the middle of the frame, a modern comet, tries somehow to capture the attention of people passing by only by chance. It is in this case an epiphany of nothing. A safe area instead, for those living in these districts — the only perimeter of light before slipping into the darkness.
These are also the boundary areas where the fight between humans and nature goes on. After every victory, every human conquest, a flag would be put up to state that victory.
The light of the lampposts is the constant and ubiquitous flag of human civilization. This way the area is, by means of the lamppost, marked as safe, cleared, colonized, gained for human usage.
— Sergio Figliolia, Rome, Italy
A Changed Land
When the Nottinghamshire Coalfield in central England reached highest production output there were 30 collieries in operation. Coal production at Gedling Colliery began in 1902 and continued until 1991. Over 70 million tons of coal was mined and at its most productive in 1924 there were more than 3884 men working there. 130 miners died on site.
Photographing over a five year period Jim Denham and I walked the whole site and in all weather: from bleached-blinding hot summer days to painful-cold blue winter. We continually photographed using both digital and analogue.
Our images are a reaction to and a record of the joining point between the death of industrial coal extraction and the conversion of the landscape to controlled recreation and leisure. We feel lucky to have been in the right place at the right time and to have witnessed a short pause in a changing land.
— Paul Harrison & Jim Denham, Nottingham, England