My research and photographic practice grew out of my personal experience as a photographer working in the rural environment while raising more general questions about the state of photography and contemporary artistic production. The work is concerned with notions of place, identity and sense of belongings while focusing on contemporary issues of rural landscape and environmental, gendered ideas of nature.

After relocating from London to Brighton in the aftermath of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU–and moved by my personal feelings of displacement–I set out on daily walks in the Sussex countryside with the intent to photograph and make sense of my own place in this new landscape. The work engages with the English landscape from an outsider's point of view and is aimed at investigating the dynamics that shape our relationship with place and our sense of belonging—the ways in which we connect and give meaning to (and in turn are shaped by) the places we inhabit—and how creative inquiry and photographic practice can, through new aesthetic and philosophical methodologies, prompt new ways of thinking, imagining and representing rurality as valuable social, cultural and environmental space while reconsidering our relation to nature.

Considering rurality today means reconsidering the relationship between man and nature. Philosophical classical tradition defines nature as essence: the fundamental inner character of all things that is common to anything and everything. Later, nature came to be defined as that which is opposed to man and culture, as a wilderness that lives at the edges of civilization, untouched by human hands. Today our heavily cultivated land is not nature in this idealized sense: it is not the pristine wilderness of the American myth and it is not the infinite pictorial landscape, the horizon between earth and sky, of our European romantic tradition. Our contemporary rural landscape speaks not only of the long process of anthropization and objectification through which man has, over time, shaped, excavated and altered the surface of the earth but also of the different ways in which he/she has imagined and given meaning to it, leaving visible and invisible marks on the fabric of the land. If today nature is always and inevitably nature after nature—a nature that has moved into the places of man, always mediated by human action, imagination and affection—then rurality can signify a reminder of a total nature where humans and other-than-human collide.

The appropriation of the geographical idea of the trace as marking that makes up the imaginative and physical fabric of the landscape is used as a device to investigate the dynamics through which we are affected by and give meaning to place. In the series, place is understood not merely as a fixed entity, but as a multi-layered construction. Space is thus defined as a spatially lived place that can be objectively practiced, created and imagined daily through subjective understandings and personal experience. Place becomes a map through which to explore the intersections of nature and culture, human and other-than-human, and the image becomes a symbolic mark projecting subjective value onto rural landscape, adding a meaningful layer to the cultural and historical tissue of the place. In my work landscape and imagination became female habitus, places to inhabit and occupy and where identity is aesthetically and creatively negotiated.

Process-oriented and object driven, my photographic practice employs a variety of photographic analogue techniques, both traditional and experimental, guided by chance and intuition. I deploy monochromatic and analogue processes as strategies of resistance towards the ubiquity of digital landscape images that have permeated our contemporary culture. With their highly aestheticised and commercialised representations, these images have substituted the direct experience of nature and threatened to level out differences in ways of representing and understanding rurality. Drawing attention to the surface of the image, the use of traditional processes allows me to recognise the photograph’s ontology as indexical trace: a tangible object that still pertains a direct connection to reality and the viewer.

In the embodied practices that characterise my methodologies, the primacy of the body is the means through which space is experienced and transformed into place and identity negotiated in and through the surrounding space: an active, intimate and gendered process of place-making that socially and personally activate the landscape.

The work consists of a series of relatively small, monochromatic, analogue images hand-printed on traditional silver-halide film and created in response to walking on the ancient paths of the South Downs—in proximity to the places in which I live—and organised in a series of unpopulated landscapes that bear the traces of a long history of human presence. Together these images form a collection of fragments of nature that, locating the rural within a local landscape and my direct and particular (personal and historical) connection with it, serves to combine individual and collective memory, interior and social spaces.