PHO702 Work In Progress / MA Falmouth University
My photographic practice is in a transitional phase from straight documentary imagery collecting and archiving objects of interest which question the construction of the British landscape no longer as a place of wilderness but a place of human construction.
As Liz Wells states in her book land matters ‘representation of land as landscape, whether in romantic or in more topographic modes, reflects and reinforces contemporary political, social and environmental attitudes’ (Wells,2011). Thus it questions the nature of the landscape as a wild place, free from human intervention. My practice as an architectural photographer has focused on the urban landscape and these questions have always been a part of this process but have never focused on the ‘natural’ environment, until now.
Topographic and psycheogeographical methodology are how I have approached projects my first project in the landscape studying ones close to home. Much like practitioners David Farrell, Mark Powers and Stefi Klenz my work has interrogated the landscape, it’s meaning, it’s use and how we live within it. My latest photographic project ‘No Moor’ took me to Dartmoor National Park to study the industrialisation of mining, quarrying and damning which exploited the landscape for it’s natural resources. The work observed how nature itself was weathering these industrial structures into obsolete natural forms, almost as if revealed by the landscape itself.
No Moor, Henry Woide. 2020
The next piece I undertook during my time on Dartmoor was an autobiographical approach which used my feelings of isolation in the first lockdown. A communication tower, the largest on Dartmoor this series of pictures titled ‘Tethered’ it documented the only place we can escape from isolation, a place where we can share our feelings, creativity and lives in a time of claustrophobia and fear. Cables that hold down one of the largest telecommunications masts on Dartmoor, an isolated part of the world that depends upon these to keep its communication open across the moor.
Tethered, Henry Woide, 2020
Tethered strengths are in it’s contemporary relation to isolation, something relatable for all of us in the current third lockdown. ‘Landscape is a social product; particular landscapes tell us something about cultural histories and attitudes. Landscape results from human intervention to shape or transform natural phenomena, of which we are simultaneously a part.’ (Wells,2011) The work demonstrates both this isolation and social product of society, a large architectural structure which is at odd with its surroundings but also essential for modern day life it shows the human intervention in the landscape and due to the framing the work lets the viewers imagination connect the tower to the concrete weights. Tethering for a better word ourselves to the landscape, a now social product of human intervention. The weakness in the body of work probably lies with it’s breath, it is one tower. Unlike the work of Hilla and Becher who categorise many towers showing their ubiquity and unanimous form from a removed distance perspective cataloging these objects as if displayed in a museum.
Water Towers, Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher, 1972–2009.
My latest project By The M25 again engages the landscape studying open landscapes unsure of their use. It follows a route, the M25, an arbitrary parameter and documents found landscapes by the road. These spaces exist in the green belt and are questioned through documentation, what is their purpose? are they wild spaces or are they managed? Visually I have taken a straight documentary approach using the camera to indexically categorise the landscapes in front of me. Only using visual cues to add allegory to the straight landscape photographs, planes and electrical cables passing over and cars driving past the unnoticed the landscape. Capturing human intervention within the landscape I question the use of these spaces.
By The M25, Henry Woide. 2021
Future development of my practice will look at my own intervention in the landscape, how I can control my environment using the camera and perspective to ‘trick’ the viewer into believing the image is true at first but question it the more they look at it. Much like Noemie Goudal or Mishka Henner previously spoken about in my previous blog post informing contexts. It will question the relationship between digital media and the physical world and where those two points meet. I look forward to experimenting with new techniques physical and digital to achieve the work.
Soulèvements, Noemie Goudal, 2018.
WELLS, L. (2011). Land matters: landscape photography, culture and identity. London, I.B. Tauris.
1: Bernd Becher and Hilla Becher .Water Towers 1972–2009. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/bernd-becher-and-hilla-becher-718
2: Noemie Goudal. Soulèvements. 2018. http://noemiegoudal.com/soulevement/