/25 Altered landscape

Dafna Talmor

Constructed Landscapes

For years, my work consisted of photographs taken in interior spaces, with mere suggestions of outside space. As soon as I left the confines of interior space, I felt overwhelmed by the lack of clear limitations and burdened by the history of landscape loaded with clichéd tropes and pictorial conventions. In spite of this, I found myself aimlessly yet compulsively photographing landscapes whenever I travelled. Taken with no conceptual agenda, driven by a sentimental desire to produce a nostalgic memento, the negatives accumulated in boxes.

This growing personal archive forms the basis of Constructed Landscapes, where images initially shot as mere keepsakes of Israel, Venezuela, the UK and US are transformed through the act of slicing and splicing. Produced by collaging medium format colour negatives, this intuitive process relies on experimentation, involving several incisions and configurations before a right match is achieved. The resulting images are staged landscapes, a conflation combining the ‘real’ and the imaginary, transforming a specific place – initially loaded with personal meaning and political connotations – into a space of greater universality. Blurring place, memory and time – defying specificity and referring to the transient – the work alludes to idealised and utopian spaces.

In dialogue with the history of photography, Constructed Landscapes references Pictorialist processes of combination printing as well as Modernist experiments with the materiality of film. Whilst distinctly holding historical references, the work engages with contemporary discourse on manipulation, the analogue/digital divide and the effects these have on photography’s status.