Paul Hart / Farmed
The Fens, also known as Fenland, is an area of reclaimed marshland in the east of England which is one of the richest arable areas of the UK. Paul Hart has been photographing this landscape of agribusiness over the last six years. Most of this land was drained several centuries ago, resulting in a flat, low-lying agricultural region. The majority of the Fens lies within a few metres of sea level. As with similar areas in The Netherlands, much of the Fenland originally consisted of fresh-or salt-water wetlands, which have been artificially drained, and continue to be protected from floods by drainage banks and pumps. With the support of this drainage system, the area has become a major arable agricultural region in Britain.
FARMED engages with the recurring themes of this linear landscape, a place comprised primarily of straight lines with a flat horizon. Hart explores an environment of control, one of nature faceted by symbols of industrialisation, a landscape with monoculture at it’s core. Hart’s working method is in the vein of documentary, exploring our relationship to this landscape by highlighting elements that are so often overlooked. His narrative pin points the objects that remain, when all that surrounds has been cleared by modern agricultural practice. He aims to convey nature’s vulnerability within this unsheltered and unprotected environment, but as Steven Collier Brown stresses, he “resists narratives of pure catastrophe in places clearly impacted by centuries of mismanagement.” He employs the analogue process and traditional darkroom techniques, to convey something of the soulful in a landscape that is rarely considered of any aesthetic interest.
Hart grew up in a rural, agricultural part of the UK, and when young, spent much time outdoors in an area quite untouched by the modern world. This free and unrestrained up bringing, a personal history so attached to tangible landscapes, informs his work. As Steven Collier Brown writes of FARMED; “Hart’s photographs raise important questions about possession, ownership, mobility, stewardship, history, memory, perspective – the list goes on.”
FARMED, by Paul Hart, was published by Dewi Lewis Publishing 2016
British photographer Paul Hart (b. 1961) explores our relationship with the landscape, in both a humanistic and socio-historical sense. His projects usually concentrate on a specific geographic region, where he photographs intensively over a number of years. Hart studied at Lincoln College of Art (UK) and graduated from Nottingham Trent University (UK) in 1988 with a BA (Hons) Photography. He works solely with the analogue process; shooting on medium and large format, personally processing film and making handcrafted silver gelatin prints in a traditional manner. This hands-on approach, which includes a mix of science, chemistry and craft, is integral to his working practice and results in, what could be described as, a poetic interpretation of his subject. Hart has concentrated on self initiated projects for exhibition and publication for the past fifteen years. His work has been widely exhibited and internationally shown at Paris-Photo and The AIPAD Photography Show.
FARMED : Dewi Lewis Publishing, UK (2016) Monograph
Looking at Images : LensWork Publishing, USA (2014) Brooks Jensen
TRUNCATED : Dewi Lewis Publishing, UK (2008) Monograph
Photo Projects : Argentum, UK (2006) Chris Dickie
Winner : First Prize Monograph: FARMED Prix de la Photographie, France 2016
Winner : First Prize Fine Art Series : FARMED Prix de la Photographie, France 2016
Winner : Third Place Fine Art : FARMED Moscow Foto Awards, Russia 2016
Honorable Mention : FARMED International Photography Awards, USA 2015
Winner : Second Prize Book Series : TRUNCATED Prix de la Photographie, France 2009
Winner : Second Prize Fine Art Series : TRUNCATED Prix de la Photographie, France 2008
Honorable Mention : TRUNCATED International Photography Awards, USA 2008
Honorable Mention : TRUNCATED International Photography Awards, USA 2007
V&A National Art Library : FARMED Monograph
V&A National Art Library : TRUNCATED Monograph
‘Meetings with Unremarkable Trees’ : The Photography of Paul Hart : Gerry Badger (2008)
‘Constructing Fate’ : Paul Hart’s Farmed Landscapes : Steven Collier Brown (2016)
2016 FARMED : Prize Show : Prix de la Photographie, Espace Beaurepaire, Paris (France)
2016 FARMED : Prize Show : Moscow International l Foto Awards, Na Kashirke Gallery, Moscow (Russia)
2016 TRUNCATED : Group Show : Print Sales Salon Show, The Photographers’ Gallery, London (UK)
2016 FARMED : Photo-London, Somerset House, (UK)
2016 TRUNCATED : Prize Show : Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London (UK)
2015 TRUNCATED : Group Show : Print Sales Salon Show, The Photographers’ Gallery, London (UK)
2015 TRUNCATED : The AIPAD Photography Show, (NYC)
FARMED will be exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery Print Sales in ‘When frost was spectre-grey’ from November 18th – January 21st 2017.