“Now we have our country back”
The Holderness coastline in Yorkshire’s East Riding is one of the most vulnerable coastlines in Europe, retreating on average between one and two metres a year, although in exceptional weather conditions up to ten metres of cliff face have been known to disappear overnight. Whether a particular stretch of coastline is protected or not depends on the economic value of the land. Thus, areas which contain cheap housing and caravans which are sparsely distributed remain unprotected. This regime is known as “managed retreat”. To live on this coast, even in those protected areas, must require a degree of defiance and fatalism that would be hard for most of us to imagine.
This is also a part of the country which voted strongly in favour of leaving the European Union in last year’s bitterly contested referendum debate. The title, “Now we have our country back”, refers to the hoped-for final outcome of the winners’ campaign, to a particular graffiti celebrating this success and to the clear irony encapsulated by this graffiti written on a protective concrete block placed across a road which can be seen, in the middle distance, to be gradually slipping into the North Sea.
— Adam Dunning, Chesterfield, England
The series Urban Wilderness depicts areas of land within various European cities which have been left unused for a period of time, where subsequently nature has been left to its own devices. These spaces lie in an intermediate state as land is bought and sold, decisions are made and plans are drawn. In some cases these spaces have been left for so long they appear to have been forgotten.
Spaces such as these are mostly closed off from the general public and often in order to enter it is necessary to overcome physical obstacles such as walls or fences. These obstacles establish the fact that these spaces are not there for the public to enjoy. They are privately owned pieces of land bought for the purpose of private business development.
These temporary havens of nature which are surrounded by the built environment contrast starkly with the controlled form of nature that we experience within city parks and gardens. They serve as a reminder that nature is always waiting to reclaim space whenever the opportunity arises.
— Martene Rourke & Adam Heiss, Manchester, United Kingdom
This series, Out Along the Edges, explores the intertidal zone of Northern California during extremely low tides at dawn. The exposed intertidal zone is an ephemeral place that allows access to an underwater world that is usually closed to us.
Neither ocean, nor land, the intertidal zone is a hybrid of the two: a border not as a line that separates, but as an entity unto itself.
Each organism carries reminders of the water. This tiny world describes, in reverse, our daily struggles to keep our heads above water. The wide blades of kelp and seagrasses are slick with a layer of mucus that keeps them damp and reflects an oily rainbow. Translucent bulbs hold a supply of water to survive the air, just like a diver with a built-in air tank. The closed anemones squirt with every misstep. Each of these wonders exists all out of scale, a living museum at the edge of the abyss.
— Adam Thorman, Oakland, California, USA