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In conversation with Land Art agency

© Mandy Williams
Tell us about you – what’s your story? What was your journey to photography?

My connection with photography has existed since before I can remember, much like my connection to the earth, universe, and angst concerning humanity’s lack of affinity with our natural environment. Combining these passions is what led me to founding Land Art Agency. This has been supported by a BA in Photography at LSBU and an MSc that I am currently studying in Environment, Society and Politics at UCL.

As a photographer I found it increasingly concerning that I often had to dismiss my environmental values for the work I was doing. I couldn’t find any commercial platforms for artists who placed sustainable values at the forefront of their work and so the idea for Land Art Agency emerged. Marie Dryden, a good friend of mine who worked in the advertising industry also had similar concerns and so we joined together to support each other and develop and run the agency.

Land Art Agency was essentially founded as a response to the climate emergency. We want to reimagine the role of the photographer in the industry and explore where and how they can shape, transform and create green thinking. We’re connecting photographers, whose work is rooted in environmental matters and initiatives, with the commercial industry and educational platforms.

© Fiona Filipidis
Your Green Manifesto is incredibly insightful and full of information that many of us may never have considered before – even down to “smaller” considerations like green web hosting. How did you come up with the idea for the manifesto, and is it something you’d like other agencies and the wider industry to take up?

The photographic industry is currently incredibly environmentally unfriendly. Photography as a practice also has a lot of work to do. We have created our manifesto in order to highlight where it is we are trying to transform the work of the industry, the photographer. It is currently not a place where we can be 100% environmentally friendly, but by drawing attention to the issues at hand and the changes that can currently be implemented we hope to raise awareness and innovation so that we can see the industry transform to 100% environmentally friendly in the coming decade.

© Almudena Romero
Many of us understand the climate emergency and what needs to be done on a larger scale but may struggle on an individual scale. What are some of the best things we as photographers can do easily and affordably in the everyday?

As a photographer I would recommend only purchasing second hand equipment – there are so many good outlets for this nowadays. You could also look into using solar-powered battery charging sources – again many brilliant options are available. If you need support on photoshoots, try to source people local to the project as one way to reduce unnecessary travel. Working out the environmental impact of any photography project you do can also be a good way to highlight things you can change and develop in order to make the work more sustainable. I would also make it obvious that you undertook the work as sustainably as possible, regardless of the subject matter, whether it’s in text on your website or another way. This helps your audience to realise it is a consideration that can be intertwined in everything we do.

If you are asked on a shoot, ask your client what their stance is on sustainability; when developing your work, ask the lab; when printing your work, ask the printers – it takes only a handful of people to ask the question for it to become a benefit to them to green their services, so asking these things wherever possible can be a small but effective influence. The London Alternative Photography Collective’s Sustainable Darkroom is a great resource too.

What’s your process for selecting the photographers you’ve chosen to represent?

We look for people who are making work to a high industry standard, but who are also taking the time to explore an environmental practice, raise awareness of environmental issues and whose work is directly influenced by the natural world.

What advice would you give to any photographer looking to pitch themselves to you?

I would initially recommend applying to do one of our takeovers on the @landartcollective account as this is a good way for us to get to know your work and story – send us an email to apply.

Finally, share some recommendations with us – what are you currently watching, reading or listening to?

Watching: Beasts of The Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin

Listening to: Wilding, by Isabella Tree.

Reading: The Wake of Crows by Thom Van Dooren

Land Art Agency have launched an open call for their new online residency, the Sustainable Future Series. More information here. A series of workshops on sustainable and alternative photographic practices will also be running during the months of September and October. See the workshops here.

© Melanie King

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