I found Convergent Boundaries and Fragmented Technologies to be very unusual projects, drawing upon one of the oldest debates in photography regarding ‘photographic truth’ and the ‘real’ but in a framework that is utterly contemporary. Exploring how we consume natural resources in order to fuel a digital age, I was impressed by how imaginatively Cathryn explored this massive topic at a localised level (by focusing on closed-down mines in Cornwall). The resulting ambiguous ‘landscapes’ captured my imagination with their otherworldly colours and contours. I was drawn to how both series blurred boundaries between art, technology, fact and fiction.
In recent months I’ve seen several striking contemporary projects exploring man’s consumption of the land. Dan Mariner’s project stood out due to its subtlety and deeply researched historical narrative which provides an appealing anchor for this project. (While familiar with parts of Pennsylvania, I enjoyed how this project revealed a lesser known history.) An accomplished and very well edited series, there is a real strength of vision at work here. Beautifully observed light, occasions of quiet drama, solitude, and even humour, all combine to convincingly tell the story of the endless cycles of control between man and nature.
I’ve been aware of Freja Najade’s work for a while and it’s great to see her work featured here. In a relatively short amount of time she’s produced a superb record of diverse projects. Jazorina, Land of Lakes provided a fascinating insight into how the region of Lusatia, East Germany, adapted its industrial past in order to establish a new identity. Recent book Along the Hackney Canal is a much more reflective project. This series quietly observes human interference with nature, but it is also sublime in its abstract details; a very sensory journey of personal exploration.