‘Unearthed’ at The Dulwich Picture Gallery: Where does urbanity end and nature begin?
The story of photography is a concept that is fascinating for all photography lovers. The ever-changing styles, technologies, and history associated with photography are enough to excite anyone. So, it’s always interesting to expand the narrative of this pioneering story.
The Dulwich Picture gallery is currently exhibiting its first major photography exhibition, and at this exhibition, we are able to follow the story of photography from the 1840s to today; through a photographer’s most constant companion — nature.
“Nature is a constant, and there’s a reason that artists through the centuries have always returned to it…We can’t help but be inspired because it’s unwavering.” — Curator Alexander Moore, Creative Producer at Dulwich Picture Gallery
Tracing the rich history
The exhibition ‘Unearthed’ traces the rich history through depictions of nature by 41 leading international artists, revealing the fascinating technical processes and narratives behind these images. Perhaps one of the most interesting artist stories is that of English gardener, Charles Jones. Charles’ striking modernist photographs of plants remained undiscovered for 22 years after his death — until they were discovered in a trunk at Bermondsey Market in 1981, before this — his photography wasn’t widely known about.
Travel photographer, David Hicks, has collated a series of photographs from his urban adventures to create a project called ‘Unexpected Flowers’. In this project he uncovers the intricacy of flowers within urban landscapes, commenting on their abundant history:
“It seems that flowers haven’t always existed, but they started to appear many millions of years ago. I have no idea why. Weirdly, broccoli is a flower, and roses are related to apples, cherries, peaches, plums, raspberries, pears, and almonds. Again, I have no idea how or why, but thought it was worth mentioning.” — David Hicks
This project celebrates beauty, our human obsession, and continued history to use flowers to ‘beautify’ spaces. In this project David has juxtaposed the natural form with urban cityscapes, creating a parallel between the two, where does urbanity end and nature begin?
Realising nature is a constant inspiration for photographers, even in their most unlikely forms, and being found in most unlikely places — the ‘Unearthed’ exhibition is now open until the 30th of August. It is a fantastic show and will help to piece together photography from a historical point of view as well as give insights into depictions of nature ‘from the glamour and eroticism of Robert Mapplethorpe to experimentations with still life compositions by Richard Learoyd.’.
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