Harena Now investigates the global sand crisis through the use of alternative photographic processes.
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, and secondly, I want to investigate how the use of non-documentary photography when used to promote environmental and/or humanitarian issues can influence action.
Some experts predict that due to the booming demand for sand in industries such as construction, fracking 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 that people have lost their homes, livelihoods and even their lives.
To minimise my own photographic footprint, I have opted to use camera-less processes that need minimal or no 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.
To find out more about why I am researching this topic, visit:
This series intertwines mythical goddesses of nature, represented by the innocence of a child’s toy, with our ignorance of the impact our use of plastic has on our planet. Perhaps one day humans will become a myth.
Left Litter Lane
Started in 2017 while walking my dog, I revisited a small lane in my village each week for about two months to photograph the hidden hedgerow litter.
Whether discarded deliberately or accidentally fallen from dustbin collections, I used my mobile phone and the Hipstamatic app to create grids of images of this forgotten rubbish.
It feels melancholic to see these item slowly fade away. If these items were recyclable there would be a sense of hope and purpose in that cyclical act.
This is a project I aim to return to develop further.
I am passionate about the cyanotype process. It is the technique I most often use to express my creativity.
The images shown here are a mix of residency, commission and personal creations, which all have an environmental thread weaved through them.
It is important to me to try to use photographic processes that have the least impact on the natural environment.
Anthotypes, made from the juice of flowers, plants or berries provide a fleeting and delicate means to create ethereal images that touch lightly on the earth.
The first two images form part of my response to the FarmForAONBees project, commissioned by Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the University of Exeter's Environmental Science Institute. For this I worked with Dr Grace Twiston-Davies to highlight the fragility of bees and the role of science in supporting them in an agricultural context.
These images were made with beetroot and spinach, using combined negatives of rural scenes and flowers that attract bees with exposures to sunlight of approx. three weeks.
The resulting images are ethereal and fleeting, fading away if not cared for correctly.
The majority of my work is made without any reference to people. On occasion I make images from portraits I have taken or found in old family albums. And sometimes I just like to photograph a face.
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.
In 2017 I began my #365cyanotypechallenge. I make a cyanotype every day. It’s due to be completed in September 2018.
Follow its progress via my social media channels - just click on the icons.
I use a variety of alternative processes such as instant film lifts, the cyanotype process and Lumen printing and I am a keen iPhone/photo app photographer too.
These images are an eclectic mix of other techniques I employ in image-making. They touch on topics such as my fascination with lichen and my project documenting the decay of litter left in one small village lane.
I also make short films at times.
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.