I am a conceptual landscape photographer based in Northwest England, though I would widen that to include all kinds of landscapes, including urban landscapes. The difference between them is, in many ways, narrowing. I am interested in human interaction with the landscape, and the extent to which our view of rural landscapes in particular is expressed in idealised scenes that ignore or even erase human elements. My work is informed by my longstanding research and writing on literature, history, and culture, in particular the way in which lived experience, and artistic expressions are, knowingly and unknowingly, informed by such contexts.
With that in mind, I have an ongoing interest in photographing landscapes that we tend to think of as natural or wild, but are in fact very humanised. In the English Lake District, where I have done most of my recent landscape work, the relationship between the idealised landscape, and its realities, is problematic. What I find most interesting is the dissonance between that idealised version of the landscape, and the human-made reef below the surface. This can be seen most markedly in the modern industrial intrusion of cars, tourist buses, and other vehicles into settings idealised as outside the urban-industrial realm, but has a more subtle expression in the ancient stone walls, plantations, industrial sites, mines, quarries, water works, pasture, and other made structures. Similarly, in my Liverpool work I am interested in exploring the relationship between the changing modern city, and the many historical structures and stories that make up its identity.
Where to find my work
My photographs have appeared on book covers, and in books and magazines. Recent commercial clients include National Geographic Books and Links Project Management. In July 2015 I exhibited at the Northern Exposure exhibition at the Portico Library and Gallery, Manchester. I collaborated with poet Rebecca Goss on a series of poems and images published as Carousel, by Guillemot Press in Autumn, 2018. My collection of photographs concentrating on the effects of floodwater on a small section of the river Rothay, near Rydal in Cumbria, will be exhibited at the Heaton Cooper Studio Archive Gallery in Grasmere, in October 2019. I am currently developing a new landscape project tentatively entitled “Atlantis of Stones”.
My personal website, where I write about books, history and beer, among other things, is at chrisroutledge.co.uk