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Where land runs out – Liz Harrington

These works are from the series ‘Where Land Runs Out‘ which is part of a wider, ongoing project based on the  Suffolk coast in the UK at Orford Ness and Shingle Street. This desolate landscape with its vast expanse of  shingle has at times an almost haunting feel, enhanced by the rumours of mysterious happenings in the area during WWII. Along with much of the Suffolk coast, Shingle Street beach is subject to erosion and sea level rises and, with the coastline in retreat, is vulnerable to disappearing.

Focusing on transience and the fragility of the natural environment these images show the fleeting traces of  the waves and wind – and of the past – at the shoreline. They are camera-less cyanotype images, made by physically immersing the light sensitive photographic paper in the sea during periods of low  and high tide. The cyanotype is one of the earliest photographic processes, invented by Sir John Herschel in  1842, and results in a cyan blue image. After immersing the cyanotype paper in the sea the images were then  left in the sun to further develop. They have not been fully fixed, meaning they will continue to subtly change  over time – a reflection of the constantly changing landscape.

From Shingle Street 
To Orford Ness 
The waves maraud,  
The winds oppress, 
The earth can’t help  
But acquiesce 
For this is east, and east means loss,
A lessening shore, receding ground, 
Three feet gone last year, four feet this, 
Where land runs out and nothing’s sound. 
Nothing lasts long on Shingle Street.

- Extract from ‘The Ballad of Shingle Street’ by Blake Morrison, 2015

I am a photographic artist (UK, b. 1973) working with analogue, alternative photographic processes and  camera-less techniques. Transience, fragility and traces of the past are core themes that run though my work, and I often search for beauty in the unseen, micro or overlooked.  / @_lizharrington

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