The exploration of my relationship with forest landscapes has always been a central theme of my photographic practice; how it formed, evolved and continues to change. I have considered our contemporary and collective sense of alienation from the natural world, the theoretical perceptions of beauty and the sublime, and the commodification of landscape as a leisure facility and resource. My work reflects on how our personal experiences of, and interactions with, landscape are shaped by the wider cultural perceptions of forests which come to us through the coloured prisms of storytelling and mythology, literature, fine art and the more contemporary narratives of climate change.
Seascapes is a meditation on climate change; rising sea levels and frequent extreme weather events have lead to more serious flooding worldwide. In the winter of 2019/2020 the New Forest in the South of England, where I grew up and make most of my work, experienced a succession of storms which generated extensive winter-long flooding.
These images are imagined scenes about a potential future where water flows over the woodlands and flooding becomes a permanent feature of the landscape.
I wanted the series to speak about change, loss of control and the unknown. In some images the water that flows across dusk-darkened woodlands is ruptured by roiling currents, rushing inland. In others the forest is virtually obscured by bubbling water. However alluring, this sparkling insurgency is altogether darker and more dangerous; reflected light captured from the surface of the sea now appears in forest spaces where it was never meant to be.
Seascapes reflects a sense of deep concern about the urgencies of the climate crisis and yet I have a strong and enduring hope for the future and the changes we must achieve.
All images 2020 and text © Ellie Davies
By Ellie Davies
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