“Unless they look really hard, then I don’t think many people will notice the difference”.
In 2007 daffodils flowered too early for the tourist season. A Lake District holiday park decided to pull up hundreds of bulbs and replace them with artificial daffodils, so that visitors could enjoy the spectacle of a host of golden daffodils ‘fluttering and dancing in the breeze’. At the time a spokesperson was quoted as saying, “Unless they look really hard, then I don’t think many people will notice the difference”. This horrified me and has continued to haunt me, and inspire some of my work. I am fearful that we have lost our connection with the organisms with whom we share the Earth, and that we only value species that are of benefit to Man. I worry that the loss of species will not matter, so long as there are replicas for us to look at, or to work for us. Miniature drones are already being developed and used for crop pollination, whilst the pesticides that kill pollinators continue to be used across the planet. I fear we are too eager to accept imposters, rather than face and repair the damage we cause to the natural world.
In 2020 plans for new projects were curtailed, I had hoped to make work about Natural History collections and the commemoration of lost or diminishing species. Instead I decided to make work about the replacement of lost species with replicas, using a variety of artificial plants, animal models and replicas.
I am interested in traditional photographic processes. It seemed like an interesting idea to manipulate the photographs of the replicas so that they resemble vintage photographs. I liked the idea of representing the perfection of the replicas in an imperfect organic way, and that the photographs are not only of imposters, but are also imposters themselves.