Edgelands ; Exhibition October 2022
EdgeLands is a collection of images of encounters with the boundary between land and sea. A zone that generates multiple meanings, ‘running in all directions’. The edge is between the artificial and the natural, decay and renewal, beauty and detritus. A place of idyll and repose for one cohort of visitors, to the migrant in a fragile boat that same coast becomes a contested space, one of desperation and agony.
On looking out to sea: “All we are not stares back at what we are.” WH Auden
‘All these landscapes have been walked. Across, into, through, around. Photos are the immediate response to these landscapes and waterscapes, sometimes a final statement. But in the main used in the studio to explore my responses to these encounters. The work is not only descriptive but a space for sensations experienced in the landscape aided for me by moving away from photography into drawing, prints and especially painting. Less description can open more space. The sensual experience of having been there is vital. I am interested in the baggage we drag into our interpretation of landscapes. What part do they play in our personal identity? Our collective identity?’
Will Brook uses medium format film cameras, and prints using a traditional darkroom.
One enduring interest, relevant to the pictures here, relates to the nature of photography itself. If it is a documentary medium, recording the world ‘as it is’, with degrees of verisimilitude, nevertheless pictures are constructions – made using processes of artifice, and contingency. The space [and tension] between these two poles is richly generative. A second theme is to do with an oddity of photographs, when the end image brings unexpected elements; unintended. Something akin to a sense of the Uncanny [‘Unheimlich’], evoking things that might be strange, yet strangely familiar.