‘The whole universe of travel photography was evoked in each individual image, as though it formed part of a vast single photograph’ (Osborne, 2010).
The work is collaged from scans of early twentieth century photochroms. I am interested in the conventions that constitute landscape photography, both then and now. These conventions are so natural or normal as to be invisible: the fixed/static viewpoint; a distant perspective on an expanding view; the proportioned arrangement of foreground, middle ground and background; the picturesque exclusion of agriculture and industry; ‘nature’ as pristine and untouched. These visual practices helped popularize an idealized version of Alpine landscapes to people all over Europe and America at the turn of the century.
I have categorised the postcards according to recurring motifs such as lakes, snowy peaks, waterfalls and villages. Subject and composition are endlessly repeated. My approach to this work is to disassemble and reassemble fragments, and produce new arrangements of landscape in which it is harder to locate oneself as a viewer. The circularity is unbalancing – it disturbs the viewer’s expectation of a horizon and an expanding view. I play with the circle as a metaphor and a means to draw attention to the eye and the photographic lens, as instruments of vision.