Holly Nash

Landscape photography can be a limiting artistic medium. The photographer cannot shape or mould natural landscape, and the scope for representation is only as wide as the camera lens.

Consistently innovative, Corrine Silva works with photography and moving image ‘as part of and in tension with landscape traditions’. The exhibition Badlands works in the tradition of photography reminiscent of Francis Frith, capturing topography consciously sought out and distinctly unfamiliar.

Corrine is aware of her debt to this photographic canon, yet strives to go beyond its creative boundaries both geographically and technically, evident in her instillation project Imported Landscapes. The photos acknowledge human presence and demonstrate her phenomenological view of geography, the belief that ‘we are landscape’. This seems somewhat doubtful when contemplating the vast barren panoramas of the photos, often a disarray of gravel, greenery and plastic. It is this entangle of textures, natural and man-made, proves human interaction with the land.Corrine explains that each composition features a form of material development.  Humanity haunts these sites of solitude, imposed aggressively by what Corrine refers to as ‘empty lots’.

For the project Corrine journeyed through northern Morocco along the coastline photographing built landscape. Visiting Southern Spain, she noted how ‘these places share so many geographical features’ whilst ‘politically there is a huge divide’. The interaction of the two geographically is mirrored on a human level; a community of irregular migrant workers labour in southern Spain, unseen or ‘zoned out’. By installing photographs of northern Morocco upon Spanish billboards, Corrine sought to temporarily ‘reform the landscape’. The billboards form a visually spectacular imposition on the landscape, and for Corrine a ‘violent reminder of Morocco in southern Spain’.

The lecture concluded with a screening of Wandering Abroad, a short film documenting the story of Oluwale and his journey from Nigeria in 1949. Despite dreams of becoming an engineer, Oluwale failed to integrate with the English society who shunned the immigrant minority. Incessantly hounded by local police, twenty years after his arrival in Leeds he was found drowned in the Aire. The narration of his final journey is visually reconstructed through sequential shots of post-industrial Leeds, juxtaposed by a soundtrack of traditional West African dance music that is hauntingly bitter-sweet.

 

To view Wandering Abroad and Corrine’s photography exhibits see her website; http://www.corinnesilva.com/

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