Chris Younger

Whereness: The Landscape of Uncertainty

“The photograph belongs to that class of laminated objects whose two leaves cannot be separated without destroying them both: the windowpane and the landscape, and why not: Good and Evil, desire and its object; dualities we can conceive but not perceive… Whatever it grants to vision and whatever its manner, a photograph is invisible: it is not it that we see.”

Roland Barthes

Rain is a temporary thing. Commonplace, but not the norm. Vital to our survival; yet on a daily basis it is merely an inconvenience, something we endure, for as little time as possible. Rain is transformative. Its effect on the landscape – and on our behaviour – is profound. We run for cover. We hide indoors. We leave the outside vacant. Rain is an intervention.

The car acts as a mediator between myself, the rain and the empty landscape. It opens up the possibility of new locations. It provides shelter from the rain, facilitating a more considered, meditative image-making process. But it is also a hindrance, as framing an image is contingent on my ability to manoeuvre the vehicle within any given location. Balancing creative decisions with those outside of my control is an integral aspect of my work. I choose to photograph the rain and by doing so I invite uncertainty into the process. The rain intervenes on the landscape and my method, but also on the photographic image. As it pools on the glass, the rain distorts and obscures the landscape. It separates the windowpane and the landscape. It draws attention to the car and my position inside. It makes conscious the act of seeing. The photograph becomes visible.

All the images in this series were shot in and around the Deerness Valley. It is an area rich in character and beauty but at the same time one of disjunction as the land transitions from urban to rural. There is an autobiographical element to all my work which extends to the locations I choose to document. I have lived in the valley for almost a decade and over that time, as my knowledge of the landscape has increased, it has become the main subject of my work.

Chris Younger (b.1981, Newcastle) is an artist, photographer and filmmaker living in rural Durham, UK.

He uses landscape photography to explore the interactions between people, places and nature over time. His highly autobiographical work analyses formal notions of landscape through the filter of his own experiences.

Younger recently completed a Masters degree in Photography at the University of Sunderland and is currently Artist in Residence at Durham University’s Josephine Butler College.

All images from this series are available for purchase as prints from Younger’s website: www.chrisyounger.uk