Northern Light: Landscape, Photography and Evocations of the North

WHITE, Darcy and GOLDIE, Chris, eds. (2017). Northern Light: Landscape, Photography and Evocations of the North. Germany, Transcript Verlag. (In Press)

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Abstract

An edited volume of essays based on papers delivered at the SHU / MAC Conference in July 2016: 'Northern Light: Landscape Photography and Evocations of the North'. The origins of this book lie in a conference – Northern Light: Landscape Photography and Evocations of the North – convened by Darcy White and Chris Goldie and hosted by the Media Arts & Communication Department, Sheffield Hallam University in July 2016, Our objectives were to create a forum of productive interdisciplinarity within which scholars and practitioners could exchange ideas and experiences, share their work, and begin to evolve critical positions around the notion of a Northern landscape photography and its relationship to place. We invited papers that would consider a geographically diverse North – Scotland’s Highlands and Western Isles, Northern England, Northern Europe, Canada, Siberia, the Arctic and the Nordic territories – while aiming to develop approaches to the diversity of the Northern landscape through an engagement with a range of theoretical and critical disciplines: art history and visual studies, philosophy, literary theory, human geography, cultural theory, anthropology and history. The conference was framed by the notion that the Northern landscape is a constellation of different things - geographical, environmental, perceptual, conceptual and cultural in character – rather than closed spaces with tightly defined and unchanging features. We do not consider that the imagination has primacy over actuality - that a Northern landscape can be anything or anywhere we want it to be - but, rather, that places are the result of the interrelatedness of a range of contingencies. In the light of these research ideas and concepts, the value of which was borne out by the conference, we have developed this book proposal, which draws upon some of the papers presented while exploring key themes and ideas at a deeper level. Essays will examine the complexities of the Northern landscape by recognising that geographical and environmental factors shape and are shaped by history and culture, by an ongoing process within which the relationship of a place to its outside is contested and renegotiated, and by the perceiving human subject, whose participation in the landscape may be the occasion for the production of the photographic image. Northern landscapes are, it will be argued, articulations of different and often contested modes of their existence, which the photographic image attempts to explore. Approached in this way landscapes are: the context of experience and perception; sites of human habitation and wilderness; gathering places for stories and images; endowed with meaning through history and culture; the subject of cultural projects; the location of particular characteristics of topography, geology, light, climate and biogeography. Essays consider the tensions evident in a photographed landscape that is both subject and object; present experience and historical memory; visual and non-visual. The established notion of landscape as visual observation from a distant and static perspective is challenged by the idea of a dynamic encounter with environment. The significance of walking for contemporary landscape photography is explored. The form of embodiment associated with a phenomenological approach to landscape is also balanced with an attention to its materiality and socio-historical aspects. The concept of the Sublime - a privileged category within the Northern landscape tradition – is tested and renegotiated in the context of globalisation, neoliberalism and climate change. The apparent certainties of the photographic image are questioned when inscribed upon liminal, wilderness regions where some contemporary northern landscape photography eschews any kind of narrative dimension, socio cultural context or precision in terms of time and space and purposefully leaves the image 'open' to the viewer's individual interpretation. Finally, the sublime is explored through two studies of Northern England towns, both considering the relationship to their rural and natural peripheries. Because of its interdisciplinary character there is no single body of academic literature or critical enquiry to which the book will point, but the range of our interests – aesthetic and phenomenological approaches to landscape, concepts of spatiality in human geography, the interest in space in cultural history, concerns with globalisation, the environment, the anthropocene – reflect current debates amongst theorists and practitioners within photography. CONTENTS Ch 1. Introduction. Chris Goldie and Darcy White Ch 2. 53 Degrees Parallel North. Fiona Maclaren Ch 3. At the Limits of Reliable Information: Finland’s Arctic borders with Sweden, Norway and Russia. Susan Brind and Jim Harold Ch 4. Walking and Photographing Northern Landscapes: a dialogical approach. Aileen Harvey Ch 5. Bringing the Sublime Back Down to Earth: Olaf Otto Becker’s renegotiation of the sublime in a neoliberalised and climate changing world. Julia Peck Ch 6. Wanderings Through the Fog: the German landscape tradition reimagined. Darcy White Ch 7. Vaguely Northern: in between in England. Joanne Lee Ch 8. Blackpool, the North, Utopia. Chris Goldie

Item Type: Edited Book
Uncontrolled Keywords: CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY; THE NORTHERN LANDSCAPE; DOCUMENTARY; SUBLIME; WALKING ARTS; ART HISTORY; VISUAL CULTURE; CULTURAL THEORY; PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY AND THEORY
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Depositing User: Darcy White
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2017 08:51
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2017 08:51
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16529

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