True wilderness is harder and harder to come by these days. With urban sprawl and the continued destruction of natural spaces to make way for industry and housing, getting a chance to experience the untouched wild is much more difficult than it used to be.
Which is exactly what inspired Ellie Davies to create a photo series surrounding the wild and our changing perceptions of how we fit into it. Based out of London, Davies weaves (sometimes literally) manmade or out of place objects through the landscape in order to draw the point that, to many, the wilderness is only a construct. Something that we apply our perceptions, preconceptions and assumptions to in order to create.
“Making a variety of temporary and non-invasive interventions in the forest, my work places the viewer in the gap between reality and fantasy, creating spaces which encourage the viewer to re-evaluate the way in which their own relationship with the landscape is formed,” Davies says of her work. “the extent to which it is a product of cultural heritage or personal experience, and how this has been instrumental in their own identity.”
“Smoke and Mirrors” utilizes whimsical trees that have been placed in the forest to symbolize the romanticism we have with the unknown.
For her “Stars” series, she overlays images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope with forest scenes to symbolize how otherworldly, separate and seemingly unattainable nature feels to many.
The “Between the Trees: series explores whether a forest is defined by merely its collection of trees or the space between them.
“The Dwellings: examines how our material needs shape our relationship with the land.
In “Come With Me,” the viewer is placed into the photograph with the addition of a footpath, directly asking them to evaluate their place within the space.
Using materials found within the landscape to create structures that are entirely fictional, “Another Green World” reminds us of the potential and excitement early explorers must have felt at discovering the unexpected in the wild.
We all develop our own, personal sense of the landscape around us by weaving our own personal experience into it. Such is the subject of “Knit One, Pearl One.”
“The Gloaming” depicts a solitary ray of light through the thick canopy of the forest.
“Silent, Dark and Deep” illuminates that perceived strangeness that lies beneath the commonplace.
All image source: Ellie Davies