"My practice is situated between photography and film. The point at which the still appears to become a moving image fascinates me."
— Hannah Guy
Hannah Guy’s new body of work consists of animations constructed from still images and a series of composite photographs made with a large-format camera. In this work, Guy offers a new look at the photograph, formerly burdened with what the Futurist Anton Guilio Bragaglia once referred to as its ‘glacial reproduction of reality’. Each series revolves, quite literally, around the tree. The work creates a reality in continual reassessment, removing the comfort of a fixed reality.
The animations derive from a need to engage the viewer more intensely and are a response to a sense of the still photograph’s inadequacy in depicting the experience of the landscape.
"A photograph is so absolutely still and yet it is produced from what is alive and lively. The most tranquil, lonely landscape is completely dynamic compared with a photograph of it."
— Halla Beloff
The animation series, Staccato° (Sketches 1-4) poignantly considers our relationship with the natural world, as well as our relationship with the still photograph. The animations call us to consider our view and experience of nature. The cyclical nature of the animation and perpetual succession of images explore an experience of time that mirrors nature’s cycle. As winter follows summer, summer follows winter; as death succeeds birth, birth will succeed death. The emblem of the tree and the ghost of the once vast forests that spread across Europe evoke a primeval world when most of the planet was covered by impenetrable forests. In the context of current anxieties about nature’s uncertain future, a certain melancholy is unavoidable.
The differing methods of representation seek to present different experiences of nature, experimenting with and moving beyond the impact of the traditional still photograph. By looping a succession of still images, the animations create the illusion of the tree in perpetual movement. Slowly, the subtle nuances of the landscape are revealed as the audience is placed at different points around the tree. Through the amalgamated images a new vision of the landscape is created, as the form, texture and visual architecture appear, a sense of space emerges from the two dimensional photograph.
The still photographs possess characteristics more akin to drawing or painting, and are presented as a kind of photographic palimpsest, sketching traces of a 360° rotation of the tree into a single photographic frame. In a translation of the four points of rotation, the series' prints are titled NSEW. The platinum palladium print serves as a testament to the materiality of the photographic object in a world of virtual reality. The viewer finds himself or herself questioning what they see. The multiple realities presented force the viewer into active engagement with issues of form and perspective. No longer presented with a singular version of reality, the question becomes 'is it this view, this view, this view or this view?’
The dual representation of nature urges us to consider the partiality and construction of such representations, whilst simultaneously offering an immersive viewing experience and asking us to re-examine our own, real relationship to nature.
— Admas Habte
The animations below revolve, quite literally, around four trees, one at a time. 120 still images circumnavigating each tree in a field, stitched together like a poetic film.