Postcards from Paradise

16 – 31 August 2017


Postcards from Paradise explores traces of the American Dream along a highway in central California where gold mines were once prevalent in the 1800s. Once a major destination for idealists and dreamers, Owens Valley lies forgotten and empty. Now partially desolate towns were once given optimistic names such as Independence and Paradise, promising fortune for those who risked everything to pursue bigger dreams made tangible by the California gold rush. The reality, however, is that few settlers achieved any success from their endeavors, leaving empty handed with as much haste as they came in with.

Today, little evidence is left of the Gold Rush Era, yet hints of a steady economic downfall permeates throughout the valley. My photographs attempt to bring out the various manifestations of this region, in a direct representation of old and new. Most importantly, the series calls attention to the carelessness with which Americans settled and subsequently gave up on the West, leaving behind a footprint on the landscape and ultimately exposing the myth of the American Dream.



Sinziana Velicescu is a photographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Film. Her photography explores human intervention with nature in landscapes that have undergone political, social, or environmental change. Selections from her award winning series, On The Periphery, have been shown in galleries internationally in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Hamburg, Melbourne, Tokyo, and Rome. Most recently, Photo Boite named her one of the 30 Female photographers under 30 to watch in 2016.




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In the Flat Field

8 – 22 August 2017


The Netherlands and Belgium are jointly referred to as the Low Countries, the low lying delta of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt rivers, that all flow into the North Sea. The two countries have a lot in common – language, arts and culture, food, the flat landscape – and in fact historically were one nation for several periods of time, before eventually the Belgians separated from The Netherlands in 1830.

There are, however, also significant differences between the two states. In the southern part of the Low Countries Catholicism is the main religion, but the northern part is predominantly Protestant, which – at least partly – explains the different national characters of both countries. Or is it the other way around? However, in the Calvinistic north, people generally are strict, surly and thrifty, whereas the southern inhabitants show more joie de vivre and tend to take life a bit less seriously.

This schism is also reflected in the landscape and the way that is arranged. Long straight roads, short mowed lawns and rows of identical terrace houses in the north. Orderly and neat. Well maintained. Densely populated as The Netherlands are, there are only few abandoned and derelict buildings. Land is precious, and will be re-used soon after the previous user ends its activities. Old and obsolete infrastructure is demolished and immediately replaced by new facilities. For economic reasons but also because the Dutch like their environment to be orderly.

In the south we find messy terrains, overgrown plots of land, haphazardly located houses that sometimes look like follies. The Belgians are more individualistic, and therefore want to build their house according to their own taste and wishes, not restricted by rules and regulations. They don’t mind if a piece of land remains unused and is overgrown by weeds. Or when an abandoned factory slowly falls into pieces. They don’t care that their living environment is a bit untidy, as long as they can drink a beer and eat their chips or shrimp croquettes. Live and let live, and mind your own business.

In the eyes of the Belgians (and no doubt many others), the landscape in The Netherlands is flat, clean and boring. To the Dutch (and probably other North Europeans as well), Belgium seems a messy country, with ugly buildings and dirty industries.

It is the beauty of this boringness and ugliness that I want to depict in the series In the Flat Field, which derives its name from the song and album by the English post-punk band Bauhaus. “I do get bored, I get bored, in the flat field” the lyrics go. I’m bored and fascinated at the same time by the landscapes of the Low Countries.



Reinier Treur (b. 1961) is a photographer and editor based in the north of The Netherlands. He holds a master degree in Dutch literature and had a career in pr & communications, before he switched to fine art landscape and documentary photography. As a photographer he is mainly self taught. He uses medium format (and sometimes 35mm) analog cameras and color negative film.

He is interested in the relation between mankind and the altered or changing landscape, with a particular curiosity for traces in the landscape that unveil human interventions from the past. He likes empty, dilapidated, gloomy and messy locations as much as excessively orderly and overly neat places.

His work shows the beauty of what most people regard as boring and ugly landscapes.




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The Last Stand

1 – 15 August 2017

2010 – 2014

Between 2010 and 2014, I photographed the images that make up The Last Stand. This piece of work aims to reflect the histories and stories military conflict and the memories held in the landscape itself. The series is made up of 86 images and is documenting some of the physical remnants of the Second World War on the coastlines of the British Isles and Northern Europe, focusing on military defence structures that remain and their place in the shifting landscape that surrounds them. Many of these locations are no longer in sight, either subsumed or submerged by the changing sands and waters or by more human intervention. At the same time others have re-emerged from their shrouds.

Over the four years I travelled 23,000 miles to 143 locations to capture these images along the coastlines of the UK, The Channel Islands, Northern & Western France, Denmark, Belgium and Norway.

It’s large format work and it’s quite beautiful (Paul Virilio’s Bunker Archaeology may be the most recognised photography of sea defences but that’s a different kind of book). Everything is shot in subdued diffused light, the pre-dawn it looks like much of the time, and the way in which the different defences merge and crumble into the landscape of which they are now part… The Last Stand is as multilayered as the landscapes which it features; there’s historical detail wrapped folded over into a chronotopia of functional brutalism, mixed with local touches that feeds into the geological, panoramic and tactical.

All the boxes are ticked in Robert Adams traditional landscape list: there’s geography, autobiography, and metaphor. But on top of that, Wilson gives us a politicised view of landscape and power that ties back to survey photography of Timothy O’Sullivan and the work of Mitch Epstein. Layered into that is an Arcadian vision. With its focus on Northern Europe it’s a dystopian Arcadia; there is a pagan feel to Wilson’s pictures, a syncretic vision where geology, flora, climate and war find a single expression. And it’s beautiful.

Colin Pantell



Born in London, 1968. Now living in Bath, England. Marc Wilson’s photography documents the memories, histories and stories that are set in the landscapes that surround us.

Marc works on long term documentary projects, such as his recent work ‘The Last Stand’ and his current work, ‘A wounded landscape’. Whilst his previous work focussed primarily on the landscape itself, and the objects found on and within, his current work combines, landscape, documentary, portrait and still life, along with audio recordings of interviews and sounds, to portray the mass sprawling web of the histories and stories he is retelling.

His work was one of the winners at The Terry O’Neill award in 2013 and ‘The Last Stand’ was published as a book in late 2014. It has sold out of its 1st edition by early 2015 and a 2nd edition has now been published.

Solo exhibitions include those at The Royal Armouries Museum, Focal point Gallery and The Anise Gallery, London. Group shows include those at The Photographers Gallery and the Association of Photographers gallery, London and the Athens Photo Festival, 2015.

His work has been published in journals and magazines ranging from The British Journal of Photography and Raw Magazine to Wired and Dezeen.




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23 July – 7 August 2017

2016 – ongoing

Every photograph is a fiction that claims to be true

(Fontcuberta, The Kiss of Judas – Photographs and Truth, Arles Actes Sud, 2005)

My work shows contemplative spaces that create a fictional reservoir. Human interventions, geographical signatures and architectural perturbations all produce their own peculiarities. The banality, absent of humanity, creates a diffuse tension that summons the strange.



After studies in art school that led me to teaching, I have abandoned all artistic practice. In 2013, the digital revolution in photography prompted me to reconnect with a photographic practice combining film shot and digitization work. My first photographic research will be done during a trip to Portugal. Then to develop different projects. I took part in my first collective exhibition in March 2017, where I presented the series Décorum. Now I work on several series of which I present: Cinemascope.




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Following Cornelius

16 – 31 July 2017


I come from Canvey Island, a small island in the Thames Estuary, 40km east of London. Despite the complex web of dykes and drains built to secure the land by the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden, in 1621, the land sinks slowly into the mud. Growing up, his name was memoralised everywhere – in my school’s name, in the street names, in shop names – he was the island’s hero.

I was curious to see where Cornelius went after leaving Canvey – so I followed his route from Canvey Island, 100 miles north to the Fens in East Anglia. The Fens, reclaimed from the sea, are still dry as well, thanks to Cornelius Vermuyden. Under every foot of land there are tunnels, drains, pumps, reservoirs, channels, sluices, gulley’s, cuts and embankments that pump, move and drain water continuously to ensure this land remains dry. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the tides, farm run-off, water usage, rainfall and ground water are monitored, rationed and controlled to keep everything in balance.

Despite now being almost three metres below sea level, the battle goes on to keep this land dry. Whilst it looks on the surface to be an agriculturally rich, rural, natural landscape – it’s the most intensely managed land in the country.



Mitch Karunaratne is attracted to places that hold stories in the land, where the land shapes and helps give us a sense of identity and belonging. She received a MA in Photography from University of Brighton in 2012. She has exhibited widely both in the UK and abroad, most recently in Norway and Italy. She is a founding member of the MAP6 collective – travelling and creating collaborative projects with the group.




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The Watershed Project

8 – 22 July 2017

2012 – Ongoing

A common misconception of a watershed is that it’s all about the water. While water does play a large part, the land plays an even larger role by directing the water to a common point, such as a river or ocean. Thus, human impact on the land directly affects the water that runs over it. In The Watershed Project, I am highlighting the relationship between land, water, and man within the Mississippi River watershed, the largest watershed in North America.

Documenting the development and use of the watershed, the project begins at the headwaters of the French Broad River in Western North Carolina and continues into Tennessee, where it joins with the Tennessee River, and then follows the river on to the Midwest where it feeds into the Mississippi River. These rivers form the arteries of the American landscape. Our tenuous and unsustainable relationship with these waterways is examined by documenting the rivers of the watershed, the landscape of industry and control, as well as the citizens who use the rivers and work to protect them.

The first chapter of the Watershed series focuses on The French Broad River Basin. In the 1950s The French Broad River was one of the most polluted rivers in the country. A local writer Wilma Dykeman described the condition of the river as having “white scum that caps the water’s blackness for mile after mile.” The river was beset with pollution from erosion, which was caused by deforestation, pollution from heavy industry, and the rapid development of the cities within the watershed.

This work shows the constant change that occurs within the watershed of the French Broad River due to man’s presence, as well as natural causes such as floods and erosion. Beginning at the headwaters of the French Broad and following the river through Western North Carolina into Tennessee, where it joins with the Holston River to form the Tennessee River, this project documents the development and use of the watershed. It is my hope that by documenting the rivers of the French Broad, its citizens, and environs, this project will bring attention to the importance of the growing sustainability movement in this watershed and beyond.

Continuing down the system of watersheds that make up the southeastern quarter of the Mississippi River Basin, the second chapter of the Watershed project examines the Tennessee River. The Tennessee River Basin is a system of rivers that sits in the heart of the South. Covering portions of seven states, this project traces the path of the rivers from the prominent dams and vistas of Appalachia, though the Tennessee Valley to the industrial landscapes of the Cumberland Plateau, and ending at the Ohio River. This path reveals how 80 years of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the New Deal era government organization created as a multipurpose agency to provide flood relief and produce electric power, as well as spur economic development through agricultural programs, has ultimately changed the nature of the Basin. The rivers of the Tennessee Watershed, once unpredictable and wild, have been developed into controlled reservoirs ready for recreation, commercial barge navigation, and power production. The TVA’s effect on the region is all encompassing, from the drowned towns and resident relocations spanning the 20th century, to the largest toxic coal ash spill in US History in 2008.

On the Mississippi River the Watershed Project is currently focusing on the Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the flow of the river in spite of the constant cycle of drought and flooding through the use of a complex system of levees, dams, and locks. The documentation of The Mississippi is in progress and is at the very beginning of the process.



Jeff Rich’s work focuses on water issues ranging from recreation and sustainability to exploitation and abuse. Jeff explores these subjects by using long-term photographic documentations of very specific regions of the United States. Jeff received his MFA in photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. His Watershed Project has toured nationally since 2012, with shows in New York City; Portland, OR; Asheville, NC; Bloomington, IN; Akron, OH; Amherst, MA; Morgantown, WV; Nashville, TN and Atlanta, GA. His book, “Watershed: The French Broad River” was awarded the 2010 Critical Mass Book Award, and was published as a monograph in 2012. His work has been featured in Fraction Magazine, Flak Photo and as one of Daylight Magazine’s monthly podcasts. Jeff is an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, in the Art and Art History Department. He also curates the weekly series Eyes on the South for Oxford American Magazine. In 2017 Fall Line Press will publish the book “Watershed: The Tennessee River.”




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1 – 15 July 2017


Mélanie Desriaux observes Man and the vernacular; otherness. Especially, the wild as a conquest of the real. Her work bears reference to that particular history which links photography and exploration. She suggests that, in an age where everything has been charted, every frontier has been crossed, the only discovery left is inside the image itself. Going towards unknown, crossing borders, to find a visible limit and increase a point a view, are her goals. Then, she begins stories, she documents within an elliptical shape.

Her approach is contemplative. She looks intensively to find into the world an image – images – of what she feels into herself. Taking the road it’s looking for the wild, it’s changing landmarks and customs, it’s re-evaluating perceptions, it’s facing one’s fear to reveal the outlines of what limits us. So, the expedition raises metaphysical stakes, political and environmental reflections, and the journey takes on an unexpected thickness.

On Ré island, there is the detention center where are incarcereted the longest sentences of France. In Saint-Martin, one cell is equal to 6m². However, some of them express strongly realities of life – dreamed or lived – and the prison reality. Inside this floating zone, each object, each image, tries to drown walls. Photography is trying to put off boundaries of the document. So, to take the road on this territory of exile is to measure the meaning of penitence. The photographic work becomes the place of an interrogation on manufacturing process; a passage from the document to fiction. On one side as on the other – on the wire – each gesture defines a link to reality and the way in wich Man inhabits the real.



Born in 1981 in La Rochelle, Mélanie Desriaux lives and works in France. She graduated from the School of Fine Arts (Rennes, France, 2006), and obtained Higher Competitive Exam in Education, in the Visual Arts, with Photography as a major subject (Aix-en-Provence, France, 2010). Ever since, she has shared her work between artistic orders, teaching and personal research. She also works in the editorial design of artists books. Mélanie Desriaux shows her work in France and abroad.

From 2006 to 2012, she exhibited her work at Le Radar Gallery (Bayeux, France), Art & Essai Gallery (University of Rennes 2, France), and the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil. Her work in the prison of Saint-Martin (Ré island, France) was selected by Carceropolis, along Jane Evelyne Atwood’s work for instance. It is regularly published by the Prison International Observatory, and used by production company as Phare Ouest for instance.

In 2015, she won a scholarship for a wandering photographic tour in The United States. Her point of view of the Oregon trail earned her the first Fisheye magazine Jury Prize, handed over by Theo Gosselin and Maud Chalard. In 2016, she was selected by Pascal Amoyel to exhibit this work in Bowen Island (Vancouver, Canada) for FotoFilmic / PULP Gallery & Store. Also, she has been part of the David Stewart’s selection among 20 finalists for Youthhood, Life Framer Photography Prize. Her works was published by C41 magazine for instance.

In 2017, Mélanie Desriaux will show pictures produced with Observatory of Paris (France), for the 350 years of the site.




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23 June – 7 July 2017

2013 – 2014


The Project
This series of 12 is part of a project investigating an old main road, the “Strada Regina” (literally “Queen Road”), which leads along the west coast of Lake Como, Italy. It was historically part of a long stretch of road, which, since the Roman age, had brought forth a commercial link through which the Lombard tradesmen maintained business relations with the merchants beyond the Alps. Today, the “Via Regina SS340” (State Road No. 340) is a traffic jammed coastal road, which, starting from the city of Como, hits Ponte del Passo (Municipality of Gera Lario), the most northern point of the lake, for a length of about 60 km, following some stretches of the old commercial road and sometimes running parallel to it.

The study of the peri-urban territory is an essential part of my photographic research. Attention is focused on aspects which are mainly lateral, marginal, and minimal, of a landscape that has been so “often seen” that it has become, by this very fact, elusive.

The photographic method used – which favours the square form – helps me to (con)strain and (con)fine the vision, facilitating an attempt to decipher a landscape which is made up of disordered structural textures and a mixture of natural elements and human imprints.




The movement of the lakeside region, that of sedimentation, is the poetry of Fabio Tasca. In his documentation of the SS340/SS340dir route, masses are pushed together, one against the next, buildings are stratified, creating a growing tension which eclipses the rarely seen lake.

Tasca shows us a movement towards a place, a perennial departure where there is a constant confrontation with a truth that presents itself as compact and peremptory, both as an obstacle and an opportunity for knowledge. From this perspective, we have in front of our eyes forms shaped to look like barriers, narrow perspectives given by deep diagonals, bare textures of grey cement, buildings with small windows. Presences unaware of their own minimalism, in our everyday lives showing themselves more as sculptures than places.

By depicting the tensions between masses, Tasca, aside from referring to the movement of accumulation, also affirms a resistance between two dimensions: on one side sedimentation, on the other the impulse to go beyond one’s own destination and the need to cast one’s nets elsewhere.

Visual planning and research occurred during a period of reflection. The oldest and newest objects along the historic route have offered to the photographer an unexpected challenge and given back fresh suggestions of great coherence, while still demanding the necessity of decision. We are talking about rethinking the landscape or projecting a utopia that is always belayed by the results.

Photography is a partial reinstatement of reality and, within the limits of the part that it is able to reproduce, has always been a tool of investigation and knowledge: it acknowledges the complexity of the region, both architectural and most of all anthropological.

Since its beginnings, from the middle of the 1800s until now, photographers have always and faithfully documented those changes from which there is noreturn: from Eugène Atget to Walker Evans, from the New Topographics (Lewis Baltz, Robert Adams and others) to Luigi Ghirri.

Fabio Tasca, prior to taking up any specific stance, always follows a critical trajectory. He is witnesses to the constant changes, to the urgent and necessary dialectic between our environment and us. He is aware that in the relationship between the region and us, even as it becomes constantly more touched by the hands of man, the terms of our identity are still well defined, that our future is preserved, and that we take stock of how we plan it.

Gian Franco Ragno
(Photography historian and publicist)



Born in Milan, Italy, in 1965. He received a degree in Slavic philology. He works as a photographer and translator in Como. During the early 90s, he began to work as a photographer for a few national newspapers. This was the beginning of a personal journey, which brought him to discover architectural and landscape photography.




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Western Dioramas

16 – 30 June 2017

2008 — ongoing

The project is a continuing snapshot of the American West and the space it takes up in my consciousness. The seemingly limitless physical space makes us view it as transformable, disposable and unforgettable. This leads to many interesting overlaps, both spatial and temporal. There is often a visible intersection of the past and present and a wary line where the open meets the inhabited.

I am also interested in how elements inhabit the space within the frame. Every object has its own place and looks as if it has been placed there for just this picture, like a diorama in a museum. Each image like a momentary still life of the continuing history of the American West.



William Rugen spent 20 years as a fisheries oceanographer before turning to photography in 2008, when he hit the road with three cameras, one month of free time, and absolutely no concrete plans. This became the beginning of his first fine art project, Western Dioramas, a continuing survey of the American West. He’s now pursuing similar open-ended projects, each driven by subject matter and unified by the use of color and strong graphic elements. William lives in Seattle, USA.




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Project Cleansweep

8 – 22 June 2017

2012 – 2015

Taking its name from a Ministry of Defence report issued in 2011, that assessed the risk of residual contamination at sites in the United Kingdom used in the manufacture, storage, and disposal of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) from World War I to the present day.

Looking beyond the risk assessment to the ways that landscapes are psychologically charged by their history. Examining the sites of the official investigation and many more including sites used for both CBW activities during the Cold War. Following traces that lead, predictably, to military bases and government facilities and, more surprisingly, to grocery stores and holiday parks. The images take us into the country lanes of Dorset and Devon, the Peak District, the woodlands of Yorkshire and out across the open rolling countryside of the Salisbury Plain, Wales, the remote Scottish Highlands and the Irish Sea. When over 4,000 sq km of the landmass was appropriated for military use in the 20th century.

Marking the influence of military activities upon British landscapes and provoking deeper consideration of their lasting social and environmental impacts. Locating unexpected vistas that challenge conventional understandings of place.

They also remind us that war is domestic, one that employs thousands of people in production processes that are surely akin to activities in other industries.
The places pictured here become interstitial; they seem to exist between past and present, public and private, civilian and military. Here, too, the pastoral myths of the bucolic British landscape — of simple nature, a golden past — are disrupted by material realities embedded in the landscape itself.



McGrath is a photographic artist based in Cork City, Ireland. His photo works look at transitional spaces, in-between places where architecture, landscape and the built environment intersect, where a dialogue – of absence rather than presence – is created.

Recent exhibitions include Espace Lhomond Paris Photo, New Irish Works, PhotoHof Salzburg, Gallery of Photography Dublin, Photo Biennale Thessalonika, Centre Des Beaux Arts Brussels, Voies-Off Arles, Venice Biennale of Architecture, Archisle, Carlisle Photo, Landeskrone Photo, Kaunas Photo Days, Singapore Photo Festival, Photo Week DC, Yokohama City Museum, Glucksman Gallery and the Copenhagen Photo Festival.

McGrath is the winner of the AIB Arts Prize, the European Now Award, a Solas Award and has recently been nominated for the Prize Pictet 2016. He is also the winner of the inaugural RAC Photography Award 2017 (selected by Martin Parr).




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