Solent On High

“Solent on High” is an ongoing project in which I have been documenting the industrial landscapes along the Solent, which is the stretch of land between Portsmouth, Southampton and beyond. I am making photographs of the human presence without the human present. I am also interested in photographing the surrounding landscapes which “exceed the human scale of time” (Goiris, G, 2019, p.115) as they provide context as to the impact of the sites I capture.

I have theoretically engaged with the writings of Deborah Bright’s: The Machine In The Garden Revisited in which she states that: “photography embodies the laws of nature in human technology” (1992, p.60). Through capturing these industrial landscapes, I will portray the reclaiming of the land by nature; grasses sprouting from cracks in the concrete, vines climbing up the walls and ancient trees looming over us.

When capturing industrial landscapes, it is difficult not to engage with themes of environmentalism and eco-consciousness, I will acknowledge these through research and clarity in my writing. Therefore, whilst I am acknowledging this debate, I will address it through the consideration of these forms as aesthetic subjects rather than areas of contention. Furthermore, Albert Woolard states in Man Shaped Landscapes that “even the most vulgar aspects of our society seem neutralized as the result of a topographic approach. The viewpoint is anthropological rather than critical, artistic rather than scientific” (2009, p.20).

I have been visually influenced by the works of Geert Goiris’, Peak Oil (2017) and World Without Us (2019), Bernd and Hilla Becher's, Cooling Towers (2005) and Ed Burtynsky’s Oil (2009) and Mines (1981)”. All of these photographers “mesmerise us with the sublime spectacle of nature’s immolation” (Bright, D, 1992, p.68).