Evolutionary Aesthetics

I have spent many hours in the landscape making photographs, often alone, waiting. Waiting for daybreak, waiting for weather, waiting for something to happen, waiting for something to stop happening…

With this new project I am exploring this experience of being in the landscape, why some places are affecting and how the passage of time changes our experience.

I started by trying to understand why some landscapes seem to exert more power over us as human beings than others. Some themes have recurred in ‘classic’ landscape images since Homo sapiens has been making art on rock walls. Why is this? It transpires that Evolutionary Aesthetics seem to provide the answers: the risks to your offspring of choosing an unsuitable place to live can be even more dire than choosing an unsuitable mate, so our Pleistocene brains evolved to desire certain key features in the landscapes in which we might choose to live..

A conventional still photograph can only represent one focal point, one discrete (usually brief) period of time, one field of view… and is disconnected from the experience of the person creating that photograph. I am continually exploring how to express in a photographic image on the wall the effect the landscape can have on us when we spend time in it. I am challenging the convention of representing the real world in a rectilinear format, and that a photograph is merely a restricted documentary window through which is reflected a limited view of the world, and I am challenging myself to represent locations where I have stopped and thought “this would be a great place to set up camp”.