Issue 62 — Spring 2010
In modern times photography has often been involved in human encounters with nature, as a recording and classifying device. What these photographs do not show are the choices made about which parts of nature to select and how they were encountered. Robin Friend, interviewed here by Jesse Alexander, explains that his work Belly of the Whale is dependent on chance encounters and accidental discoveries. Friend describes how he sees his image-making in relation to mythic stories (like Jonah and the Whale). These stories provide archetypes but also a metaphor for how an artist can comprehend an unrecognisable place and a new experience.
Rita Soromenho also suggests ancient archetypes by creating bouquets from flowers found while wandering on the outskirts of London. The images are made by placing the flowers directly onto a scanner, after they have been gathered, rather than through the mediation of the camera frame. Ray McKenzie discusses the work, outlining a history of flower art and its hold on the popular imagination.
Jill Cole's work Birds is part of a larger body of images made on British military training land. These pictures show the trapping and ringing of wild birds by naturalists. The anthropologist Nigel Barley, introducing the work, describes some of the long history of myth and misapprehension associated with birds and how we can learn from seeing them in this state of vulnerability.
— The Editors