07 02 2020
THE GROWING THINGS is a project resulting from a journey undertaken on foot by photographer Sam Laughlin. A journey through the West Midlands region that at times felt like a search – for fragments or vestiges of land where it seemed as though natural processes were occurring unhindered, pockets of wildness that are increasingly rare.
Habitat loss, whether due to intensive farming practices, forestry, or construction, is one of the most significant factors driving the global mass extinction which is currently underway. Most populations of wild species in the UK are on a downward trajectory, primarily because of how food is produced. In nature there is a tendency towards growth, diversity and abundance. The suppression of that tendency and its replacement with monoculture leads to a spiraling decline of biodiversity. What we allow to grow and where has implications for what can live in a given area. In a landscape dominated by monocultures, wilder areas are geographically isolated from one another in a sea of inhospitable land and ecosystems cannot properly function.
Sam Laughlin is a British visual artist whose recent practice is primarily concerned with intricate natural processes. Mainly utilising large format black and white photography, his work is characterised by its slowness, taking the form of long term projects intended primarily for exhibition.
Laughlin’s work has most recently been exhibited at Jerwood Space, Impressions Gallery, John Hansard Gallery and Towner Art Gallery. In 2015 Laughlin was commissioned by John Hansard Gallery to create work over a 4 year period. In 2017 he received the Jerwood/Photoworks Award.
Image Credit: Wildflower ‘Island’ from the series The Growing Things by Sam Laughlin
01 02 2020
HARVEST by Marco Kesseler, made in the fields of the Wye valley and the foothills of the Malverns, where dense avenues of fruit trees and hops bines dissect the gilded fields of wheat sown across the arable land, looks towards the workers.
In his project he reflects on a moment in time to tell the evolving story of an essential workforce living on the periphery of society. He shows teams of people rushing back and forth between plants and trucks picking as they go. This is not the timeless, bountiful epitome of the rural idyll but the uncertain, Brexit controlled agricultural industry, revealing the uneasy relationship between the nation’s reliance on seasonal workers, and growing English nationalism. 99% of seasonal staff in the UK migrated from Europe and this project looks to celebrate some of the individuals that sustain an essential industry.
Marco Kesseler is a photographer based in the UK, with an interest in the role of narrative, studying both fact and fiction, as a reference point in representing contemporary social stories. Working with communities over an extended period of time, previous works have documented the socio-political effects of the Ukrainian revolution; living in hiding with Albanian families persecuted in the age old traditions of blood feuds, as well as celebratory traditions in Greece.
Past exhibited works have been included in The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, Paris Photo, PhotoIreland Festival, The Renaissance Photography Prize and The Sony World Photography Awards and clients include The FT Weekend Magazine, The New York Times, TIME and The British Journal of Photography.
Image Credit: Marco Kesseler