Harry Flook | Beyond What Is Written

 
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"There is a strong divide between the conservative and liberal Christians in Tennessee, but the non-religious community is so small that it is completely overlooked” - Tad Beaty, Chattanooga Humanist Assembly

Beyond What Is Written was created during a month spent photographing various non-religious communities in Tennessee; the ‘heart of the Bible Belt’. The series explores the presence of religious imagery and rhetoric in the South, and the portraits picture a relationship defined by shared absence from religion. The project is about the loss and regaining of community, and the changing religious landscape in America.


Harry is a photographer and writer, who recently Graduated from Bristol UWE. His work explores subjects borne out of his own experience, a personal investment that has taken his projects in various directions.

 

Sian Davey | Martha

 
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‘Why don’t you photograph me anymore.’ This is what Martha said to me in response to my camera being focused so often on her sister Alice. It took me by surprise. I wasn’t aware that she would care, but clearly she did. The work began when Martha was 16 years of age, a time when a child is on that cusp of being and becoming a woman. It’s a particular period of time, when for a brief period you are both a young woman and child in the same body, before the child leaves and the young woman stands on her own to meet the world.

It’s a complex and potentially confusing time. During this period of transition, there is a very short human space when a person can behave free of the weight of societal expectations and norms. Before long that window closes and we can easily forget how it felt to be ‘untethered’. 

But the work is also, inevitably, about Martha and myself. I am always there as the photographer, as her step-mother, mentor and friend, but where I am and where I place myself become a more questioning issue as she grows and moves further away from her childhood. The exchange of looks between us, that complex reflected gaze, begins to shift as she tries to define her own sense of self, to decide who she is becoming.

Though it is through the process of working together in this series so far, we have journeyed into each others psychological landscapes as we explore what our relationship means. We both mirror each others maternal wounding, both our mothers loved us but were felt as absent, this became the common ground to move forward from. 

And then there is the young woman shaping herself as a social being. Her group of friends are a safeguard, a source of protection as she moves into this new world. But this new family is also a new learning ground where she first begins to make sense of how she understands the psychological and existential territories of intimacy, love and belonging. And here, too quickly, the idyll becomes infused with all the tensions of adulthood.


Sian Davey is a photographer with a background in Fine Art and Social Policy. Her work is an investigation of the psychological landscapes of both herself and those around her. Her family and community are central to her work. 

Martha is available to pre-order now via Trolley Books

 

Rory Fuller | Off the Old Spanish Trail

 
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Just off the Old Spanish trail outside Tecopa, CA lies the Amargosa Basin. The landscape is dotted with old gypsum mines and abandoned homesteads which once thrived due to the only free-flowing river in the Mojave Desert. Evidence of industry isn't always obvious, it leaves behind traces, yet the ancient mud hills and mesquite trees conceal the old West in a mask of golden bronze and green.

I spent two weeks working and living on a date farm in the Mojave Desert last fall. On my time off I would follow coyote trails through the canyons, down riverbeds and across the plains; photographing this unique wilderness and those I met along the way.


Rory is a photographer based in Brighton, UK and a recent graduate of Nottingham Trent University. Naturally curious of anthropology and our turbulent relationship with the environment, particularly interested in post-industrial places and how the land persists and adapts when industry packs up and moves on.

 

Jeroen De Wandel | Ensō

 
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As long as men live, they tried to find a universal declaration of everything. In Japanese, one of the words who try to express this feeling is ensō. The ensō symbolises absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void). It is characterised by a minimalism born of Japanese aesthetics. In Zen Buddhism, an ensō is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. The circle may be open or closed. 

With this series I was searching for some kind of universal declaration of everything too, a blueprint of life, starting out from my own perspective and trying to find images that have more than one layer and that can generate different thoughts by who is looking.


Jeroen is an Belgian photographer who works with appropriated and original images to create his own visual world / collages.

 

Dan Mariner | Drake's Folly

 
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Hydrocarbons. Arguably our planets most valuable commodity, produced by millions of years worth of organic matter fermenting under a combination of extreme heat and pressure deep beneath the surface of the earth. The result a thick black liquid, known today as crude oil.

In the early 1800’s, in Northern Pennsylvania after the emergence of stories of this black liquid seeping from the ground, the then fledgling Seneca Oil Company sent Colonel Edwin Drake to the area in search of this elusive substance. Drake, a retired railroad worker from New York, selected only because he had a free rail pass was tasked with pioneering a reliable method of extracting this liquid in the hope it could be used for lighting homes. Drake accepted the task and set about finding a solution as quickly as possible. But of course, it was never going t be that easy.

Obstacle after obstacle thwarted Drake’s attempts, from collapsed drilling wells, impenetrable bedrock and abandonment by the very company who sent him on the search in the first place. After painfully slow and seemingly unproductive progress was being made, many of the areas residents would gather to mock and jeer the site of operation, dubbing it “Drake’s Folly” but after much ridicule, on the 27th of August 1859 in Titusville, Pennsylvania and at a depth of 69.5 feet, Drake’s drill made its first full extraction from deep under the bedrock. Unbeknown to him, Drake’s drilling method would not only establish the modern petroleum industry but enable America and the rest of the world to kick-start an industrial revolution never seen before and radically transform the evolution of human civilisation.

As news quickly spread of this lucrative new market, Titusville experienced a boom as has only been seen during the early gold rush in the west. In the space of a few years, the population swelled from a few hundred to over 8,000 people. Scores of entrepreneurs swarmed into Titusville and almost over night, townships were named. Oil City, Franklin and Pithole sprang up, teeming with prospectors hoping to make their fortune. At its peak, the Pennsylvanian oil industry supplied well over half of the world’s oil supply before the discovery of vast oil reserves in Texas and the world over.

Today it is particularly striking that the valleys and forests, once stripped bare and exploited by the industry, have now been reclaimed by nature. The area is now teeming with wildlife. Flora and fauna are slowly erasing the remnants of pipelines, rusted machinery and abandoned wells. This is a true testament to the incredible regenerative power of nature and its ability to heal itself over time. Today, retracing the steps of the early oil industry, it is hard to imagine the massive feat of human endeavour that took place over 150 years ago.


Dan is a British photographer based in Northern Norway. He studied documentary photography at the Magnum affiliated Newport University in South Wales. His main photographic interest lies in anthropology. Within that, he seeks out themes that explore how humans interact with their surroundings and how modern infrastructure and ideology coexists with the natural world.

 

Amy Spires | Left Behind

 
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"Over the years I started to notice a pattern in my work that I didn’t even realise I was creating. It became obvious that I had a love for structures, especially ones that had been left to decay. I decided to run with this natural progression and start the series ‘Left Behind’. Places that were once filled with light and life are left to be taken over by nature, vandalised or to simply rot. 

There’s something in this neglect that I find I’m magnetised to and urged to document, just incase one day these buildings are knocked down and lost for good". 


 

Tommy Sussex | What Takes Hold

 
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Opening on the eve of the 2015 General Election, ‘What Takes Hold’ looks beyond party politics to explore alternative formal and informal systems of power. It investigates what happens below the surface and just around the corner in places and communities that are generally considered not at “the centre of things”- geographically, socially or economically.

What photographer Tommy Sussex quietly hints at, and invites us to discover for ourselves, are patterns of exchange, micro-hubs of activity, anticipation of actions and purposeful movement around a both urban and (almost) rural landscape. From the matriarchal organizing power of the bingo hall, to the community spirit embodied in collective endeavor at the local Slimming World, the images reveal a community moving, living and negotiating its own terms of engagement. 

The photographs were taken in Knowle West, a neighbourhood of around 12,000 residents on the Southern edge of Bristol, which was created in the 1930s following slum clearance in the city centre. The workers who built this pioneering new community had a nickname for the estate- “5000 island forest”, referring to the fact they were building 5000 homes surrounded by forest. Sitting on a hill, Knowle West retains a sense of separation from the city today, but that pioneering spirit continues with strong familial and social networks built up over the years that offers its community a strong sense of identity, and often practical solutions and everyday support.

Some of these photographs might suggest absence but perhaps an alternative reading would be that they capture the moments just after a period of intense social activity or conversation. 


 

Nicholas JR White | Black Dots

 
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Black Dots is an exploration of mountain bothies and bothy culture throughout the United Kingdom. Far from civilisation and mostly accessible only by foot, bothies are secluded mountain shelters scattered across the British Isles and tirelessly maintained by volunteers from the Mountain Bothies Association. Unlocked and free to use, they provide a refuge from the vast terrain that surrounds them and have become an iconic feature of the British landscape over the past fifty years. Bothies are synonymous with the outdoor experience in the UK and from day trippers to mountaineers, the growing community of bothy-users is hugely diverse. Black Dots is the result of almost three years spent traversing our most remote landscapes in an attempt to better understand what these buildings are, where they’re located and the culture that surrounds them. Drawn not only by the primitive beauty of the bothies and the landscapes they sit within, the work also investigates the human element to the bothy story, capturing the faces of those who trek for hours to temporarily inhabit these spaces, many miles from the nearest settlements.


Black Dots is published by Another Place Press and can be purchased here

www.nicholasjrwhite.co.uk

 

Alexander Mourant | Aomori

 
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Aomori meaning “blue forest” in Japanese, is a synthesis of two existential ideas: the forest and the nature of blue. By combing these phenomenologically charged subjects, I create a place of high intensity, a place which exudes a life force and questions our relationship to time, colour and self.

Previously, through my photographs, I employed atmospheric conditions such as humidity, alongside tropical flora and fauna enclosed in artificial spaces, as a metaphor, for elsewhere. Through Aomori, I have expanded these territories to the ancestral forests of Japan. It is the presence of the forest and the density of its nature, which arrests for us, the relentless progression of time. It is peculiar how forests have such an affect on us. In our mind’s eye they exist continually in the past. Perhaps, it is the canopy of the trees which shelter us from gently falling light and the intoxication of time and duration. As temporal dimensions crumble, objectivity leaves us. We are found in a still, oneiric state, contemplating our own accumulation of experience.


Aomori | Solo exhibition | Thursday 1 - Sunday 4 February

Opening Night | Thursday 1 | 18:00 - 22:00 

Shop 11, The Old Truman Brewery, E1 6QR

Supported by Free Range, Metro Imaging, ArtHouse Jersey and Arts Council England.

www.alexandermourant.com

 

Harry Lawlor | Everybody is Going to Heaven

 
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These photographs were made on the Mani Peninsula at the southern tip of the Greek mainland. It's an ancient area of which's roots can be traced back to Homer's "The Iliad". I approached making the work by letting go of any preconceived ideas that I may have about the place, allowing my subconscious mind to guide the image making process. I found this particularly liberating, each time I went out with my camera each venture became an almost meditative ritual, allowing myself to be present in my body in these new surroundings. The resulting photographs are a record of these meditations on a foreign landscape.


 

Josh Jones | 99 Peace Walls

 
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 99 Peace Walls is two things; a beginning of an explorative journey of Northern Ireland and a continuation of an earlier project undertaken in Birmingham, which focussed on the Irish community. After spending time in Digbeth documenting the ageing and dwindling Irish population, Josh rounded things off by producing a dummy book. He then decided to turn his attention to the inhabitants of Belfast, and balanced working at the annual Photo Festival 2017 with photographing the start of this new project.

As a foreigner to the country, Josh was provided with an opportunity to observe and witness the city's people, but also to engage as an outsider, which does not necessarily equate to being distant. He was met with an apparent social, religious and political divide among the people of East and West Belfast, but did not aim to obviously portray this within his photographs. However, the politics of the city clearly had an effect, whether subconsciously or not. The Union Jack colour scheme is sprinkled throughout the series; the tracksuit top of the girl with hooped earrings, the bunting strung across the garden and even the 'PAW Patrol' toy car parked outside the West Peace Wall.

These photographs were all taken within a two week time frame in both ends of the city. This work is ongoing. Josh hopes to revisit Belfast, explore other parts of Northern Ireland and possibly venture into the Republic of Ireland too.


 

Alex Ingram | David's House

 

St Davids is the UKs smallest city, located on the most Western point of the Pembrokeshire coast with a population of just 1841. This project explores the connection between people and place, seeking to understand the connections that the subjects have with the landscape, and their reasoning and choices for spending their lives in such a secluded part of the world. St Davids is where I was brought up, and through this personal connection with the landscape, I was able to offer a thoughtful and insightful documentation of this tightly formed community, in which I spent his childhood.

The project has evolved from my initial connection with my neighbour, Dai, and the life he has spent in St Davids and the stories he had to tell. Broadening the work to the wider community, I am in search of what connects other members of the community to the place and explores how St Davids has impacted their lives.


 

Scarlett O'Flaherty | Powolani przez Boga

 
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Powolani przez Boga is a documentation of the feminine adoration of God that explores beyond a superficial perspective of women’s role in the Catholic Church, through seeking to understand what makes these women give their lives to God. The sisters display an inner contentment that many in a contemporary society would envy. This comes from the belief that they have been called by God. The calling and dedication to the church is not tangible, some would argue that the presence of God does not exist, however for the women of the Felician Franciscan Congregation it determines their path through life.


 

Megan Wilson-De La Mare | Flirting with Monsters

 
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Based on her personal experiences and observations of our collective expression of femininity Flirting with Monsters considers that which exists outside established social norms and clichéd notions of the ideal female form. Megan’s creative process sets portraits of women and still life images against a backdrop of powerful Icelandic landscapes, exploring and questioning our obsession with beauty and a contrived ideal form of femininity. This project seeks to instigate a new dialogue around female subjectivities.


 

Grace Jackson | Whispers of the Sea

 

Whispers of the Sea is a series about me and my attachment to the sea but also how the sea makes me feel and how it has helped healed me, it was the first place I felt safe, it was the first place I went on my own and now it has been somewhere I always feel calm. After being sexually assaulted I contained myself in my own flat too scared to leave the comfort, too scared of the unknown. I started travelling to the coast and taking photographs and writing down all the things I could never say, as I stayed there for hours photographing, thinking and writing this is how I started to make work again, it started with a series called Shell Casing, then leading to The Fractures of our Soul and now continuing with Whispers of the Sea, since the first two series I have now been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and I have learnt the ways I can cope with the nightmares and the flashbacks, and one of these is being by the sea. All the work is shot on analogue ranging from large format to medium format. I use analogue photography because I love the control I have over it, after what happened I need to always feel in control, and although it can become obsessive, by loading, developing and printing all my own work in my own darkroom it becomes cathartic to work on the print and get the outcome I really want and showcase how I feel, but also it is a way of me putting this trauma into my work, and giving myself a voice I have never felt I have had since the attack as for 18 months I was silent and once I started talking about what happened I faced a lot of criticisms and set backs as many people didn’t believe me including the police, my family and friends, I started to doubt myself and not know if the nightmares and flashbacks were real, I started to doubt my own memory and sanity, therefore the series allows me to say what I want without having to utter the words or worry about someone else’s reaction or judgement, my photographs can speak for me. Further from this I want to generate conversation, conservation about sexual assaults and why our society shuts down and victim shames the women who have suffered enough pain, why the first words out of peoples mouths are “were you on your own”, “what were you wearing”, “was it late at night” – like any of these questions should matter, but just because we are women we have to protect ourselves instead teaching that rape is wrong. I layer both the landscapes and the nudes because to me the landscape is a body as well, it is talking about the female form alongside my safety, I choose nudes because the topics I am talking about I want bare skin I want the fragility of the female body next to the place I feel safe. By layering I am also putting my own touch on the series, it is very personal to myself and is a way to help myself heal.


 

Rebecca Gray | In Between

 
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In a society that weighs heavily on teaching young people how to work hard and get the best grades, we often overlook mental health. Resilience is a series of portraits and corresponding still life photographs of people who work with young people (11 to 25), who suffer with mental health problems. With each person, I discussed their views on current political and social attitudes towards mental health and what they believe would be a positive way for our society to improve its stance on the matter. Unanimously, they offered a solution of preventative action, providing children with a better awareness of their own and others mental health. Giving people the opportunity to be mentally resilient.


 

William McCleland | Out of Step

 

The Hardcore music scene gives a sense of belonging to many struggling to find a place in an uncertain society. Looking at a group of young men, it is possible to see those seeking direction, aligning themselves to what seems an aggressive movement, for a sense of belonging and meaning. 

The fragility of those involved is often only exposed to those on the inside, causing a dichotomy between the public perception and the private reality. 


 

Giulia Parlato | Isola

 

The concept of Isola originated from an unresolved question I have been asking myself for the past three years; about home and the impossibility of finding one. The 'photographic act' has always been a way to isolate myself and feel at home within my images. This sort of inner dislocation I reach while I photograph, brought me to the creation of a fictitious island, which almost became a symbolic dwelling.

When I started to construct a critical thought around this project, I knew it had to be about Sicily, depicted as a surreal and arcane place and strongly linked to its myths. Throughout the development of my work, this partially changed and focusing on my origins became mostly a familiar and personal way of articulating a discourse on a more broad and complex concept.

My journey of twenty-five days through the mediterranean sea, started after a rereading of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's Lighea and Homer's Odyssey, focusing particularly on Ulysses adventures across the south of Italy. When I decided to plan my own route, I was ultimately inspired by the tales my father used to tell me. All of these stories were based on Ferdinandea, which was a small Sicilian island that rose from the water in 1831 and then disappeared again underwater (to lie just below the surface) in 1832.

In winter, the Sicilian landscape shifts from being a desirable tourist destination, to a desert and silent scene.

The desolation of Sicily and the small island which surround it made me focus on their idyllic appearance. Meditating on the primitive uses of the cave, which are extremely common throughout the island group, I though of each cavern as a dwelling in its purest and simplest structure; a contained space, which is possible to enter and which recalls the ideal form of the shelter.

By exploring this territory, I was allured by the idea of enclosure in the shapes of igneous rocks and cliffs, encompassing the traveller and welcoming him to stay. The symbology of the cave, antechamber of an hidden world, is a central theme of my research. The cave here is seen as an intricate space, similar to the one of the human viscera, as well as a place where a reconnection with Mother Earth and our original state of humanity is possible.

Isola formed around the idea of narrating, like in a travel journal, a fictional voyage from an adventurer's perspective; from approaching an imaginary island to venturing into its core.

Celebrating the beauty of the classical forms, the nude figures in the landscape evoke a sense of a dreamlike dimension, in which the viewer is invited to immerse themselves. Concentrating the narrative more on their gestures, rather than their identity, my subjects are faceless islanders, accompanying foreigners through their visit.
The objects I have collected throughout the making of my work, have been taken out of their original context and photographed individually, against a simple black background. This enhances their evocative power and shifts the focus onto their symbolic value. As fragments of an ended voyage, the objects almost become 'organs' of the island itself, organic pieces that have been secretly removed from it.

Isola is not a specific place and it does not belong to a specific time. Impenetrable, it exists only in images.


 

Anne Erhard | From the Trees We Run Between

 

"Together as carpenters with hammers
We have taught the distance
How to build a roof
From the trees we run between"

John Berger

One morning, staring out of a car window into dense red fir forests lining the road, I noticed the strange patterns created by the bright trees and the slivers of dark air caught among them. Sometimes, the trunks appear black instead, leaving only the gaps between them illuminated. 

Based on the ancient legends of the world tree, a central axis supporting heaven and earth, this project expands into a poetic study of the notion of origin, the cyclical nature of devotion, and the anonymity of craft. Traditions of building open up a circumnavigation of sites of worship; surpassing landscape as visual construct and returning to land as graspable object. Drawing from countless mythologies of the forest, my concern lies in keeping visible those fragments of knowledge embedded so deeply in collective memory they are on the brink of eclipsing themselves. Collating multiple narratives into a story of endurance, this body of work oscillates between the boundaries of the found and made. Layers of imagery are eroded, gathered, and compressed again by the force of interwoven histories; a built land gradually reveals its marks of engagement and possession. 

Shot between England, Germany, and the Czech Republic, physical locations are extracted and re-arranged, created anew within the space of the photographs. My own family lies at the centre of a web of connections to living and working in the woods of our shared past; the traces of these relations continue to take root in my practice. From following workmen setting controlled fires, leaving behind an earth burnt but renewed, to photographing the woods my grandfathers owned, my images arrest the transformation of matter at various stages - from wood to stone, from bone to ash, to dust and soil, to a state loosened from the successive structure of past, present, and future.