New Photographs by Matthew Conduit: 2006 - 2011
Chora: an ancient Greek term that often takes on the general meaning of the countryside surrounding the city
My work is in continuous development with each new image informing the next. There is no ‘end’ - no ‘project’. I work throughout the winter months in flat, neutral light discarding all peripheral information and most references to the topography. There are no skies or horizons and few focal points. In some cases, no ‘landscape’.
The fine rendering of the subject through the photographic process is fundamental. Almost innocuous arrangements of materials are heightened merely thorough being photographed. The use of elevated vantage points sometimes places the viewer in the canopy and often provides a taunting glimpse of something beyond or through the maze.
It is important to me that these images are made within my own environment. The ‘travelogue’ does not interest me. Over the years, I have been increasingly drawn back to the city’s edges, it’s ‘edgelands’; its ‘Chora’; the green and overlooked areas on the urban borderline - woods, scrubland, wasteland, dormant and common land. The images appear to re- present the forces of ‘pure nature’, yet they are all ‘post industrial landscapes’ in one way or another.
I am increasingly striving for more immersive and lasting images. However, there is a silence and calm within the final prints that often belies the reality. In the Shire Brook Valley, the drone of the main road directly adjacent is ever present. Around Meers Brook, kids on motorbikes and the reversing signal of lorries, from the refuse site just beyond the thicket, distract. The sanctuary I seek is in the final images, but hardly ever in the difficult experience of making them.
Matthew Conduit, 2011
Text and images © courtesy of Matthew Conduit