Harena Now investigates the global sand crisis through an alternative photographic process and digital manipulation.
It is part of my wider interest in how humans impact on the world in which we live.
My motivation for this work is two-fold. Firstly, I aim to raise the profile of this lesser known environmental issue that is having dire consequences not only on eco-systems but human life too. Secondly, I want to challenge the response to human-made environmental problems through the use of abstract imagery and investigate if this aesthetic can prompt action.
Some experts predict that due to the booming demand for sand in industries such as construction and beach re-nourishment, sand may run out. That seems impossible for such a ubiquitous material.
It also seems unimaginable that this has also led to a growth in sand mafias, and people have lost their homes, livelihoods and even their lives.
To minimise my own photographic footprint, I have opted to use a camera-less process without chemical solutions, creating my abstract images at coastal locations, using sand, sunlight and sometimes seawater.
Harena is the Latin word for sand. It also symbolises sandy places such as the seashore but also an arena/place of contest. As the developing environmental/humanitarian issues surrounding our use of sand is most definitely a battle, for those trying to survive and make a living, for the wildlife and habitats caught up in the process, for those trying to determine a solution, it is apt that Harena signifies the material (sand) and implies conflict.
The Harena Now images meld various sources of inspiration from the passage of time to geology, the microscopic to the vast, anthropocentric to ecocentric ideologies, and the past to the present.
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth”. Rachel Carson.
I originally wrote that this series is inspired by my love of flowers and their cyclical nature.
In part, that is true. But it is in fact about ageing, in particular the time when a woman is facing the menopause.
This can be a challenging moment - I say moment as it does not last forever or define a woman - which can be scary and feel lonesome.
Even in 2019, it seems openly admitting you are menopausal is still taboo (especially in work situations).
There is still a propensity in our (UK) society to idolise ‘youth’ rather than to celebrate all ages. Women of all ages can feel pressured to be a certain way or look a certain way, but when your body begins to change during menopause, it can amplify insecurities.
The images are created using flowers that are dying, capturing their beauty and reinventing it in a new life.
If we are lucky, we all live to a ripe old age. This series celebrates life changes and encourages women not to lose themselves during this time. Some images have an X-ray effect to signify how fragile we can feel at this stage of our lives, but their strong colours imply they are far from the end of their days.
Seeing the flowers in this new way relates to seeing yourself in a new way - you are not invisible.
Using a mix of lumen printing and digital manipulation, this project considers my own recycling attempts.
Created with items from my recycling bin, it aims to prompt conversations about the reuse, recycle and reduce formula and how the emphasis is shifting towards the importance of reduce, rather than just a token recycling effort.
This series intertwines stories of mythical goddesses of nature with the story of plastic. The innocence of a child’s plastic doll seems incongruous with the impact we are having on our planet through our over reliance on this material. It seeks answers to why, with the knowledge we have, we can not lessen our usage on a global scale.
Alt Processes & Other Work
I am passionate about alternative photographic processes, particularly the cyanotype.
The images below show a mix of residency, commission and personal creations using techniques such as cyanotype, anthotype and instant film lifts.
This section also includes some portraits and film work.
Cornwall Crafts Association WWI Centenary film
In 2016, I was commissioned by Cornwall Crafts Association, in conjunction with the National Trust, to produce a moving image showcase of the work of some of the artists taking part in an exhibition to mark the centenary of the war waged across Europe, Asia and Africa from 1914 to 1918.
Humans and Dogs of St Agnes
Inspired by Humans of New York and my passion for pooches, this project showcases the bonds between people and their dogs.
I hope to create a photo-book of the images and stories to be used to raise funds for local dog rescues.