PLUS PAPER INTERVIEW – MARCH 2015
How would you describe the style of your work?
I describe my work as landscape photography into which I make interventions and create new objects or spaces. I aim to create new ways of experiencing the landscape, to allow the viewer to explore afresh the natural world around them, and to consider the influences that can shape our experiences of the forest.
Where are these forests you work in? How do you go about finding the suitable locations?
I make most of my work in The New Forest, an ancient woodland in the south of England. It was originally created by Henry VIII as his personal deer hunting forest and it has now been designated National Park status.
How long does your work remain in the forests? Are people invited to come and view them in person?
My works only exist for a single day. I make them to be photographed and remove all trace when I finish. I aim to create as little impact as possible on the forest, so it is important to remove my work afterwards. I work alone so generally people don’t get to see my work in the forest, but its purpose it ultimately to create a photograph.. This is the final piece and the intervientions I make are part of the process.
The interventions I make range from pathways weaving through the woods made from craft materials, bracken, flour, and coloured leaves and paper, to large scale forest ‘Dwellings’ built from materials gathered from the forest floor. Each ‘made’ object has a very short life, and is not the artwork but a means to creating a photographic image. I use my work to explore my relationship with the natural world, how it is layered with cultural meaning and mythmaking that masks, obscures or overlays my experience of the forest. I try to find my own way to exist in the landscape but gaining a more personal level of interaction, inscribing something of myself temporarily within these forest spaces.
What do you find intriguing about forests?
I love working in the forests because they are imbued with all sorts of meanings which come to us through history, mythology, stories and tales. They are a metaphor for the unconcious mind. I use the forest as a backdrop or studio space in order to create images which I hope are ambiguous enough to allow the viewer to make their own interpretation of the work, whilst having a narrative within them.
Are you working on any more forest projects currently?
I am still working on my Stars series. I have been waiting for the new growth to appear on the trees so that I can start work on the series again now that spring is here.
I have several other projects bubbling away. I will continue experimenting and testing over the next few months before I decide where it will go and begin making final images for the new series.