Project Unseen – UCA Degree Project
‘We are living in the Anthropocene age, in which human influence on the planet is so profound – terrifying – it will leave its legacy for millennia. Politicians and scientists have had their say, but how are writers and artists responding to this crisis?’
Dr. R. Macfarlane, The Guardian. April 2016.
For a year I journeyed over my own home landscape in Suffolk. I found threatened wild places, vestiges of salt marsh and pockets of woodland being squeezed out by industrial agriculture. As an artist I pondered how to portray these unseen, undervalued essential ecosystems. I took photographs of the diminishing wild landscape and our declining biodiversity but this was not my answer. A photograph is not a substitute.
I became immersed in the natural flux and slower rhythms of a coastal biosphere. I took time to reflect on our living world. I buried my photographs back where they had been taken as an antidote to the acceleration of human power over nature. I learnt to slow my image making from 1/80th second to 80 days. Time, water, weather and creatures painted over my digital images leaving traces of elemental activity. My photographs became my dialogue with nature – no longer representing a particular moment more an evolving enquiry. What is our relationship with ecosystems? How do we replace our anthropocentric ways of thinking, of valuing and of acting? I returned home and adapted an historic darkroom process to reverse the light and dark within my images as metaphor of our times.
The creation of this series was simply my reaction to recent environmental reports of the global degradation within my lifetime, coupled with a sensitivity, that stemmed from reflecting on my childhood of playing in rock pools and woodland pathways. What shall we leave for the next generation? Will they thank us for beautiful prints of lost wilderness and creatures, which we could have saved?
Veronica M Worrall.