British Arts Council, British Landscape & The Imagination: 1970’s to Now, Towner, 2017

Mike Perry, Loch Cluanie and Cross, Scotland 2009  Ctype print 195 x 165 cms
Contemporary Environmental Landscape Photography
Mike Perry, Loch Cluanie, Scotland 2009 Ctype print 195 x 165 cms
Environmental landscape photography
Mike Perry, Cross, Scotland 2009 Ctype print 195 x 165 cms

Mike Perry’s landscape photographs in the series Wet Deserts are realised on a grand scale. His work, however, differs markedly from the cadre of photographers such as Edward Burtynsky who have made their name by creating large-scale works that record manufactured landscapes and environmental catastrophe. Perry eschews their need for elevated platforms (and more recently, aviation), to reveal the breadth and depth of these man-altered landscapes. Whereas Burtynsky travels the globe to document extreme human impact, Perry focuses his gaze on mundane and typically overlooked locations here in Britain, often in places commonly referred to as areas of natural beauty, our national parks. Thus he does not offer us dramatic aerial vistas of oil polluted landscapes, but low-angle, near distance images of charred scrubland and landscapes left barren from tree-felling or over-intensive sheep-farming. As Skye Sherwin observes “Perry’s photography, is not concerned with the campaigning rhetoric of straight environmental documentary. Rather it poetically alludes to what we might be leaving for future generations”.

Using a large format analogue camera and combining painterly aesthetics with a hard edged environmental narrative, the photographic images in Wet Deserts shed a very different light on the health of the upland landscape than one is accustomed to seeing in tourist brochures or romantic paintings and landscape photography.

David Drake, Director, Ffotogallery 2018

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