Inside The Spider is a project based on Walthamstow Marshes, East London, one of the last natural wetlands in the capital. Suzie Howell started working on this project in mid 2014 when she moved to a flat on the edge of Walthamstow Marshes in Clapton. Over the following three years, Suzie visited these marshes on a regular basis and explored her own personal and changing relationship with this area.
“Many of the photographs are a study of the unperturbed, beautiful landscape that I often wondered alone, others portray my sculpted reinterpretations of objects found on the marshes”.
The objects Suzie photographed ranged from mattresses and lanterns left over from a free party, to bits of material that had once been used as a shelter by someone who lived out there. She also re-sculpted and photographed a lot of flora and fauna in the area, such as a dead bird and an uprooted giant hogweed.
Suzie photographed these things either where she had found them or moved them somewhere else and re-sculpted them into the landscape. She wanted to repurpose a lot of the pieces she had found into objects that felt more personal to her, and in turn gave the discarded object a new lease of life.
Suzie began incorporating female figures into the images after the summer of 2015, when there were several attacks on women on the marshes. She decided it was no longer safe to go there alone and began taking friends with her, who then started being used within the constructed narratives. A lot of the images she began taking were of women looking vulnerable. Suzie had not meant for the project to go down that path and had tried to steer away from these helpless images in the final edit, but didn’t want to totally ignore this factor of female vulnerability as it was a feeling she had often felt out there, even before the attacks.
There is a troubled side to the beautiful, natural spectacle of the marshes and that contrasting feeling of darkness and allure become the basis of the work.
Suzie was born in Bristol, UK. She now lives and works in London as a photographer. Last year she had her first solo show in London and recently had work included in the group show ‘The New Vanguard Photography Prize’ at the Aperture Gallery, New York. Her solo show ‘Inside the Spider’ was selected as one of Max Ferguson’s ‘Best of 2017’ for British Journal of Photography.