Topography Is Fate — North African Battlefields of WWII considers the varied landscapes of North Africa that the soldier of WWII was forced to endure. Thousands of miles from home, largely untraveled and ignorant of lands and peoples outside his home country, he was dropped onto the shores of what must have seemed to him a dangerous and alien environment — his understanding of the land limited to stereotype, myth and the relevant army field manual.
The approach is conceptual, with the photographs of the North African battlefields presented, similar to the New Topographic photographers of previous generations, in an almost anonymous and neutral tone of voice. The images are taken in daylight, without complexity and noise, portraying a peaceful quietness of the desert and grassland to allow viewers to fill in that negative space with their own visualization of the war.
— Matthew Arnold, New York City
During the course of my photographic career I have been continuously invested in considering the cultural landscape as a mitigating agent for identity. These curiosities grow out of a wide range of experiences; from growing up in suburban Houston, Texas to the time I spent living in Nairobi, Kenya.
This experience of culture shock engaged my sense of place and sparked my affinity for landscape. I have been captivated by the reciprocal and symbiotic relationship between geographic place defining individuals and individuals defining a place.
I am most interested in the geography of sprawl. The methods used to settle the new frontier of virgin land found on the outskirts of existing development mark and give identity to that landscape. These places of perpetual flux are the result of an everlasting desire for the new yet at the same time demonstrate the unfaltering need for contemporary civilizations to tame and control the space of habitation. Most recently I have been committed to making photographs that explore the suburban state of mind through the activities and lifestyle experienced by those of us who dwell there.
Through my photographic practice I am contributing to a greater understanding of the contemporary landscape, culture, and identity by creating images that both describe and inquire about the physical, sociological, and psychological geography of American space. My work reveals moments in time and place that are intimate and public, specific yet universal. I visually expose the space between reality and desire; explore the distance between the future and the present, and position poetic banality within the realm of unfamiliar beauty.
— Matthew Evans Golden, Denton, Texas, USA
My work is in continuous development, with each new image informing the next. There is no “end,” no “project.” I work throughout the winter months in flat, neutral light and still air, discarding all peripheral information and most references to the topography. There are no skies or horizons and few focal points. In some cases, no “landscape.”
The fine rendering of the subject through the photographic process is fundamental. Almost innocuous arrangements of materials are heightened merely thorough being photographed. The use of elevated vantage points sometimes places the viewer in the canopy and often provides a taunting glimpse of something beyond or through the maze.
I started this work in the “wilds” of Derbyshire, but got increasingly drawn back to the city’s edges, its green, unmanaged areas on the urban borderline. The images appear to re-present the forces of “pure nature,” yet they are all “post-industrial landscapes” in one way or another.
— Matthew Conduit, Sheffield, United Kingdom