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Extreme Landscapes

Mountains have an incredible draw. I am obsessed with them. If I can see the summit of a peak, I want to stand on it. I have no idea why. Mountaineering is though, very expensive. You need a lot of gear. You need to travel. You also need to be brave. All of these things have held me back in the past.

I have though, been fortunate enough to trek and climb some beautiful locations. Each time taking my clunky DSLR along for the journey (I'm old and phone cameras weren't always good).

I've often wondered why? Should I simply be enjoying the moment, rather than fumbling with ISO settings. Either way, I cant help it.

I have amassed a library of landscapes spanning hundreds of gigabytes, and they have sat on my desktop, confined to their hard-drives for years. That was until recently, when I began to revisit some of the images. I was trying to articulate the process for one of my large-scale light installations 'States of Matter', a piece questioning our planets fragile relationship with water.

I realised that the images embody a physical relationship I have with the landscape. Obsessions with geology and terrain. The need to be immersed in these things at scale. And for some reason, the overwhelming urge to capture it, in visual form, audio, or as datasets.

In creating 'States of Matter', I was drawing on physical experiences.

The experience of realising how insignificant and small you are in the enormous landscape surrounding you.

The experience of your face pressing against ice, your feet soaking wet, kicking crampons with frozen toes to get a hold with your feet.

The experience of friends, and guides, loosing their home and livelihood because of the changing landscape, accelerated beyond control because of climate change.

The experience of walking for 10 days to reach a certain place, for no other reason than you want to be there, and see it with your own eyes.

The experience of wading through glacier water.

The experience of wind burn on your face, walking over salt flats.

The experience of smelling the sulphuric belches of volcanically active landscapes.

In my practice I take the beauty of these experiences, playfully interrogating how we connect to the natural world, and the effect we have upon it.

My archive of images captured during these experiences allows me to reflect back upon them, in a way I perhaps wouldn't have consciously done other-wise. For years I have created work without sharing my process with audiences. Instead they experience the piece through a simple interpretation text nestled somewhere close to the action. I realised that it might be nice to widen this and share more from my thoughts, processes and formative experiences. For several of my large-scale installations, I now create accompanying Zines for the audience to download, read and share. Hopefully giving a greater understanding of my work and practice.

This journal is also part of this process. Here's to more adventures and experiences!


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