La Piel Seca (Dry Skin)
“…here you can feel something of the infinite, immutable, eternal, indefinable essence of God.”
These words appear in the book Journey to the South, written in 1931 by Fray Albino, bishop from the island of Tenerife. Within its pages he recounts his journey through the south of the volcanic island located in the Atlantic Ocean near Africa. It has a wet northern area favored by the trade winds and a very dry southern area due to high temperatures and the lack of rain.
On account of its aridity, the south was a barren terrain similar to a desert, unpopulated and isolated by the absence of communications. Since the 1970’s there has been strong tourism growth, which has significantly modified its socio-economic reality.
Inspired by Fray Albino’s words, I photograph the south of the island attempting to capture remnants of the landscape’s intangible values, which evoked within Fray Albino those feelings verging on mystical.
— Carlos Labrador, Tenerife, Spain
My work develops from an interest in a specific place or as in the case of my series Brabant from an interest in the landscapes surrounding my hometown Tilburg. I have an emotional connection with these places because they constitute the landscape of my childhood.
I spend a lot of time investigating narrow geographies within these landscapes; I tend to move around in certain areas over and over again with the changing light and through the different seasons.
The Brabant series has originated from my profound feeling of loss. I mean the loss of familiar places, the loss of the original landscape and the visible history of it and of course the loss of biodiversity and free space.
Since my childhood days I have seen Brabant changing continuously and often rapidly. These changes in the landscape are, of course, the result of our efforts to provide food, housing and other needs for a growing population. Eventually to create a better world for more and more people. I look at these changes with mixed feelings; these inevitable changes have an upside and downside. The downside has to do with loss. The images of the Brabant series show mainly rural places. It is precisely this rural aspect of the landscape that has got lost largely in the last fifty years.
My sense of loss has been strengthened by the fact that it concerns the context of my youth. So it is often somewhat painful for me to see all these changes, not only the negative aspects of the changes. I guess that is why I have a preference for fading light or for the last light of the day for the subjects of my images.
In a broader perspective the traces of human activities in the countryside of Brabant, captured in my images, are in the end a kind of ‘pars pro toto’ for the enormous and irrevocable impact of mankind on this planet.
— Thieu Riemen, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Not far away from New York City’s glamorous lifestyle, sights and attractions lies a world of unequal growth. A world characterized by a monotonous recurrence of old (not cost-effective for refurbishment) houses, lack of chances for amusement and entertainment, much higher poverty rates and an overall feeling that everything that ruins the City’s glaring image has been exiled there to stay hidden.
NYC is well known for the idealized nickname “the city that never sleeps.” I chose to make these photographs during nighttime to question this nickname in neighborhoods minutes away from the city’s famous downtown.
I chose neighborhoods like Williamsburg, the Bronx, Borough/Sunset Park, Brighton Beach and Coney Island among others, where the antithesis with the glitz, the growth and the continuous expansion of the City’s Central Business Districts is more than obvious.
— Pavlos Stamatiades, Athens, Greece
As an important aspect of urban culture, urban landscape is the beginning of understanding cities. In the Chinese cities in the transition period, the realistic landscape seems to be full of meaning of super reality. In this day and age, when our cities are constantly moving forward, we are always presented with absurd and hyper-realistic landscapes with diverse plots. The seemingly absurd plots are actually thought-provoking. The concept of hyperreal landscape has both a meaning of hyperreality and a metaphor for reality.
Jean Baudrillard believed that hyperreality, as a concept in postmodern discourse, refers to a situation that is more real than reality. In a hyperreal world, everything is real. The urban landscape presented here seems to be, as Baudrillard pointed out, “the reality of today itself is hyperreal, and we all live in the aesthetic illusion of reality.”
Hyperreal landscape is a work of gazing at the landscape and combining personal feelings.
— Wentao Li, Liaoyang, China