What photographers perceive as ‘The North’ seems to be land devoid of all people, if the images at this show are anything to go by…
… the Northern Light – Landscape Photography and Evocations of the North exhibition in Sheffield Hallam University was nevertheless inspiring, with so much wonderful work on show.
Stark buildings with closed doors, huddled down in empty social spaces – these do, after all, speak of long winters; of people finding their entertainment indoors. Sealed in from cold streets.
There were the epic blue, sub-lit landscapes taken in Northern Russia by Simon Roberts – his ‘Polyarnye Nochi’ series
and the brilliantly observed Icelandic buildings in Mitch Karunaratne’s ‘The Cold Coast’.
I love the natural spaces portrayed by Anna Lilleengen in her ‘Metamorphosis, Series 2’ work. Beautiful double exposures, which make you slow down and contemplate cold northern forests and open water. Half dreams.
The lush, rich landscapes depicting Svalbard by Mitch Karanuratne in ‘The Cold Coast’ really held my gaze. This beautiful presentation and colour balance, I think. Deep, shiny laminated blocks, like table place settings. More suggestion of human activity found in this work, too.
Going upstairs to the mezzanine level, I found the human beings I was craving. At last! Some real fleshed out figures from the north!
Sophie Gerrard is a social documentary photographer, and her work has a strong environmental theme.
Of course, being close to my own experiences of Dales farming landscapes, her work immediately appealed to me. Drawn to the Land focuses on the lives of women who run farms in some of the most hostile natural spaces in the UK. The small details of life are depicted, as well as the harsh but stunning landscapes themselves.
Absolutely loved the framed presentation too.
I recommend exploring more of Sophie’s work.