This series is part of a project investigating an old main road, the “Strada Regina” (literally “Queen Road”), which leads along the east coast of Lake Como. It was historically part of a long stretch of road, which, since the Roman age, had brought forth a commercial link through which the Lombard tradesmen maintained business relations with the merchants beyond the Alps.
Today, the “Via Regina SS340” (State Road no. 340) is a traffic-jammed coastal road, which, starting from the city of Como, hits Ponte del Passo (Municipality of Gera Lario), the most northern point of the lake, for a length of about 60 km, following some stretches of the old commercial road and sometimes running parallel to it.
— Fabio Tasca, Como, Italy
There are thousands and thousands of concrete bunkers scattered throughout the European geography. After more than 60 years, these obsolete bunkers have been gradually assimilated back into the landscape. But still they remain, half-hidden betwixt the valleys and peaks, vigilant, silent witnesses to a dramatic moment in contemporary history.
The bunker is a war construction designed to look, watch and shoot. From the small windows one can capture a specific part of the landscape, honing the visual angle into a target range. Behind the special location of these settlements, which create a complex spider web spanning across the territory, there is an implicit desire to take over the landscape.
Adapting these assumptions to photographic thinking, this project aims to reuse the bunkers with an artistic purpose: to steal their military connotations and transform them into landscape observatories from where the target is “fired upon.”
Pinhole technique has been used to convert bunkers into large concrete cameras and take pictures of the landscapes that were and are target of the bunkers. Thus I intend to carry out both intellectual and aesthetic reappropriation of the landscape.
— Asier Gogortza, Bera, Basque Countries
Project Guerrilla Graffiti is a collaborative effort between artist and designer Lun Cheak and photographer Szeling, capturing artwork projected onto public spaces in Singapore.
It’s an endeavor to explore what art would look like in graffiti-scarce Singapore, and considers what if Singapore were more liberal with graffiti art. It is also an exploration of graffiti through a different medium, one that is not illegal.
The artwork is created by Lun Cheak on his iPad, then connected directly to a projector. The duo scout for interesting locations around Singapore where space and art fits.
Upon documenting the projected landscape, Szeling went further with the crafting of the images, injecting a vivid mood to these images that blends the artwork and the environment together, complementing each other as a visual art piece itself.
Lun Cheak & Szeling, Singapore
Negativland explores places of loss, contradiction, disbelief and inversion. These are landscapes that are rooted in contradiction, opposite realities, blank spaces, and misleading perspectives. Negativland brims with clouded vision, the presence of inexplicable sources of light, hyper-reflective surfaces, uncomfortable angles, and deceptively-situated shadows to provide expressions of unnatural juxtapositions — in-between spaces in the midst of falling apart, unraveling landscapes where meaning shifts and memory fails.
— Margaret Inga Wiatrowski, New York City, USA
Maps are beautiful and fascinating documents of the interaction between man and Nature. They embody our twin instincts to measure the world around us and to represent that world in abstract form, and in both of these they are the products of reality and of the imagination.
I like to explore these themes by imitating the practice of surveyors and mapmakers of old. I go into the landscape with my “mapmaking” tools – a camera and a mirror – to make surveys of my own, taking “readings” by flagging or tracing around natural features with the mirror so that flashes or ghost-like trajectories are recorded in the camera.
My practice gives me an opportunity for expression that contrasts vividly with photography’s mechanical nature, and brings me into alignment with the real mapmaker, whose quiet presence can never be subtracted from the maps he makes.
— Nick Dykes, London, United Kingdom
This series, titled NOA, is taken in the Northwestern region of Argentina — commonly referred to as NOA. It is an arid region of salt flats and volcanoes in the high pre-Andean plains towards the Chilean and Bolivian borders. This particular selection of images are shot at an average altitude of 4,000 meters, where the air is scarce, animals are a rare sight, and the indigenous plants are low-growing shrubs, bushes and grass.
I was instantly struck by the otherworldly magnificence of the landscape, and wanted to document it and convey this through the photographs. I chose to exclude the horizon in the composition, and leave as few clues as to scale as possible. The result of this is a rather disorienting image, where proportions and perspective are perplexing. This sense of disorientation is similar to how I felt when I was there: the high altitude, lack of air, total silence, and infinite expanse gave rise to feelings of confusion, vulnerability and daunting. I also feel that the square format distances these images from the more traditional landscape format, and therefore allows for further ambiguities.
— Emma Livingston, Buenos Aires, Argentina
With the ultra-conservative Popular Party’s arrival in the Spanish government, a new, highly-probable Coastal Law will free the land, and the construction and land speculation which had been stopped due to the economic crisis will recommence. What looked like it might be an opportunity to avoid more coastal destruction may just be an illusion. Cement may cover the sand again.
While along the coast, emptiness fills the streets, waterparks, apartments and hotels. Excessive growth has turned the landscape into a big mass of asphalt, swimming pools and purposely-placed palm trees. In summer there’s a mass of swimwear and towels, cars and bikes, “paellas” and beer. However, the rest of the year, most of the year, there is nothing. Blinds down. Closed for (non) holiday. Low season.
— Oriol Clavera, Barcelona, Catalan Countries
The Real Unknown is a term that Lewis and Clark noted in their journals as they left the last settlement bordering the then-unexplored western territories of the United States. Embodying this concept and expanding upon its use as a metaphor for unanticipated discovery, this project delves into the contemporary American landscape, focusing on real estate sites.
While making work in and around suburban spaces I began taking note of signs at the edges of undeveloped property, declaring future use and value. Conjured by developers and real estate agents, these placards typically offer detailed descriptions used to sell the property. This view of natural space presented in stark, commoditized terms stood in contrast to my personal feelings about nature and land use. As someone who enjoys overgrown lots and untouched landscapes the thought of these parcels being developed, in an all-too-familiar fashion, immediately fueled my desire to begin photographing them before they were gone. I am using the descriptions as titles for each piece, finding that they function as a blatant and powerful counterweight to the inherent visual quality of these spaces. They are a potent example of an altered perception of the American landscape, one that has gone from uncharted wilderness to a parceled, divided and mapped terrain, in only a few generations.
Turning back to the land itself, The Real Unknown explores relationships between the insatiable urge to constantly alter our landscape and the often-indescribable allure of the natural world. For some, these spaces represent pure commodity, another opportunity to profit from the unceasing development of America. However, spending time in these places has given me a different perspective. I see an untouched world with sublime and contemplative qualities — one that holds mystery, still offers the potential for discovery, and challenges our understanding of exactly what it is and should become.
— Justin James Reed, Virginia, USA
Safety First is an ongoing project exploring the misappropriation of safety materials in public space. The key element of the series is the humor which rises in the visual from the misappropriation itself, as throughout our lives we are taught about appropriate boundaries and the lines which we should not cross, yet when these materials are employed in an unorthodox fashion, they lose their power of authority and become foils to themselves, as their own perceived strength – as barriers which safely and functionally guide us through our collective space on an ongoing basis – is lost.
— Taylor Holland, Paris, France
These images are part of a project that documents the uneasy transition of a large undeveloped suburban area in the Twin Cities into a planned community of megastores, strip malls, high-density housing and hotels. It is a landscape of intent on a vast scale. A drive through the heart of this area drives the point home; one side of the road is a converging sea of themed architecture in various stages of completion, while the on the opposite side is a vista of endless mountains of dirt, rock and sand being carved out of the earth.
For four years I spent many mornings and evenings there photographing this evolving landscape. On one level, my photos are documents of the physical power exerted upon the landscape by the equipment that is rendering the land. On another level, the images aim to convey the emotional undercurrents of violence, desolation and control that one encounters when immersed in this landscape.
— Chuck Avery, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA