The Wastelands, are series of large-scale ethereal panoramas of salt marshes, filled with bubbles rising up foreshadowing rising sea levels.
In the 17th Century word ‘Wasteland’ was initially introduced to apply to salt-marshes and fens, indicating land that was deemed to be useless, neither suitable for farming or building. Huge areas of ‘The Fens’ were subsequently drained, turning swampland into fields for agriculture, so ’improving’ on nature.
These same wastelands can now be seen in a different light – invaluable ecosystems that can sequester as much as 50 times the amount of carbon per hectare as tropical forests, literally absorbing our waste.
Climate change, industrialisation, urbanisation and rising sea levels, have put the marshes under threat, so much so, that they are now in danger of becoming a carbon source instead of a carbon sink, releasing carbon back into the atmosphere.
The Wastelands, are a series of surreal, high resolution images of salt marshes (up to 3m in size), alluding to the fragility of these landscapes and the role of humans in their destruction. The imagery and symbolism of the bubble, references Dutch Vanitas Paintings which signify the fragility and brevity of life and human conciseness. At the same time it foreshadows the rising sea levels and their permanent immersion under water.
It made sense to take these ideas out onto location suggesting not only the rising sea levels threatening to engulf these natural defence systems, but also the prospect of damaged marshes releasing carbon back into our atmosphere.
Despite the fact these are surreal images, it is important to my working practice to photograph what is actually seen on location. As such actual bubbles are released during high tide on location and photographed in situ. Minimal post production is applied to the images, and no AI or special effects are used.