Thursday, 4 April 2013

Danielle Heath AIR 2013

The nature of photography

I went to Outlandia hoping to see how the nature of photographs would change once they met real nature. How photographs as objects would change with wind and rain transforming them over the duration of the residency, and how perceptions of nature depicted in these images compared and related to the real thing. I was trying to begin a semiotic discussion between the representation of the Scottish landscape/People’s images of the Scottish landscape and landscape itself.
This is how I went about it- 
I interviewed members of the public around Glasgow, intending to arrive at the residency having surveyed people about their perceptions of what nature is.
Strangers told me about their mental-images of what the Scottish countryside/landscape was for them. What came out of these interviews was
1- a concept that Scottishness is somehow fundamentally related to the idea of the Scottish landscape, and 2- that the countryside is somehow curative.
3- It seems to be associated with freedom and play, connected to memories of childhood 4- it is also considered a wild place, and 5- you can feel the echoes of history there. It is also timeless, like hundreds of years have not affected the land.
Some other people had a different point of view, suggesting that the land has been changed by farming and sheep grazing creating an agricultural desert.  Other people brought up in the countryside/landscape felt slightly less ideological about it, but still felt it was an important place to be. Meanwhile the people who were brought up in Glasgow seem to associate the countryside and the landscape with an inherent part of being Scottish, even if they’d spent their whole lives in Glasgow city.
I went and found representations of these ideas through paintings and taxidermy birds that came out of the Scottish landscape itself.
I photographed these objects and asked people to be photographed with them, I got all of the subjects to breathe in and breathe out in the photographs whilst imagining they were out there- in the landscape. Thereby having both moments of breathing photographed, imitating what we do when we first reach what we consider to be nature, and experiencing its curative effects.
Then, on the 25th February I took these printed photographs to Outlandia [...]

Danielle Heath

All images courtesy Danielle Heath