Constructed Landscapes is an ongoing project consisting of two sub-series that stemmed from my personal archive of ‘failed’ photographs. Initially shot as mere keepsakes across different locations that include Venezuela, Israel, the US and UK, the images are produced by collaging and reconfiguring medium format colour negatives.
Transformed through the act of slicing and splicing, the resulting images are staged landscapes, a conflation combining the ‘real’ and the imaginary. Through this work, specific places initially loaded with personal meaning and political connotations, are reconfigured into a space of greater universality. Blurring place, memory and time – defying specificity and referring to the transient – the work alludes to idealised and utopian spaces.
In Constructed Landscapes, condensing multiple time frames by collaging negatives to construct an image transfers the notion of the ‘decisive moment’ from the photographic act to the act of assembling and printing in the darkroom. In turn, fragments of varying source images collide and collude to create an illusory landscape; gaps and voids where negatives fail to meet or overlap mimic (and form new) elements of landscape, disrupting composition and distorting perspective.
In dialogue with the history of photography, Constructed Landscapes references Pictorialist processes of combination printing as well as Modernist experiments with the materiality of film. Whilst distinctly holding historical references, the work engages with contemporary discourse on manipulation and the analogue/digital divide.
Beyond photographs, the work has expanded to include site-specific vinyl wallpapers, spatial interventions, photograms, preparatory studies and publications, including my first monograph published by Fw:Books in October 2020. Designed by Hans Gremmen, the book includes newly commissioned essays by Olga Smith, Shoair Mavlian, a poem by Cherry Smyth and an interview with Gemma Padley, consolidating material from the Constructed Landscapes series that includes 44 main plates and extensive previously unpublished process material such as reproductions of contact sheet images, test prints and the constructed negatives.
Please visit the Fw:Books website for more information about the book.