'Is there such a thing as wilderness anymore?'
Interview by Tom Livingstone
Artist: Harry Merriman
Series Title: ‘The New Wilderness’
Photography Courses completed: 12-Month Mentorship Program
For up-and-coming artist Harry Merriman, a big highlight in participating in Contact Sheet’s 12-month mentorship program was the community he built through working with the other artists and mentors.
“I joined this program because my goal is to become a working artist and to do this I need to engage in every available opportunity to not only grow professionally but absorb as much advice from people who have much more life experience than myself,” he says.
Like many artists, being able to narrow down his initial idea was at first tricky for Harry but having his fellow artists and mentors to bounce ideas off helped him hone the concept of ‘The New Wilderness’.
“You just have to start taking images or videos and then get feedback or be able to critically analyse your own work to get past these initial problems,” Harry says.
“Working through the images and videos I’d made over the course of a year to create my body of work was such a consistent highlight.”
Harry’s project turned into an observation of the current environment we classify as our wilderness, “the world that we now inhabit in the 21st century”.
“Nature is now so infused with manmade elements, is there such a thing as the ‘wilderness’ anymore?” he asks.
Harry’s photographs capture the smaller moments and details of landscapes and moving image to capture an entire area over a period of time.
“Each medium does something that the other can’t and I tried to pair them together to create an overall experience that only using one couldn’t fully achieve,” he says.
With manmade structures so heavily present in the world we now live, much of Harry’s work has a dark, ominous element to it as he wanted the audience to consider what our environments look like, now they’re lit 24/7 and no longer ‘wild’ or ‘untamed’.
“Taking images at night that are lit by streetlights, the world takes on a lonely and unnatural appearance which isn’t noticeable during the day,” he says.
Harry is about to undertake his Masters in Fine Arts and the connections he has made through Contact Sheet’s mentorship program are something he is thankful for and will continue to utilise to develop his artistry further.
To read Harry's full interview, click here
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