In March, I went to Finland as part of the photographic collective MAP6. Suddenly, the COVID-19 situation worsened and we found ourselves trapped in a country with locked borders...
''On March 16th, five members of the MAP6 collective flew to Finland to photograph the area around Rovaniemi in Lapland. The coronavirus was beginning to take hold across the world; it had been ranked as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11th, and its impact was only just beginning to be realised. Within hours of arriving they were notified that all return flights had been cancelled. With the country entering a state of emergency and the borders closed, the MAP6 members were potentially stranded. Events escalated as they watched alarming news updates from their apartment. Museums and schools had closed in Rovaniemi, and restaurants and bars were shutting. This was the beginning of a global lockdown. For four days the MAP6 photographers documented the crisis from within Finland, whilst awaiting confirmation of a flight home. The text is from headlines that appeared on various social media channels during that time.''
The curated MAP6 group project is on the MAP6 website.
All of my images for this project are on my website: see MAP6: The Isolation Project.
MAP6 decided to explore Finland this year, and spent 5 days in the country – each member pursuing their own interests as a contribution to the collective’s overall project. It was challenging for me, but enjoyable – I'm a studio photography, and usually plan and control taking photos meticulously over lengthy periods of time!
▲ Landbo, Finland. Rich Cutler, 2019
Work from my project has been selected for the exhibition Now You Don't: Photography and Extinction by the the In-Between: Journal of New and New Media Photography. More...
Extract from the exhibition statement:
''In living memory, global populations of fishes, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles more than doubled what remains today. In a geological blink-of-the-eye, half of the earth’s species will be threatened with extinction. This loss will crescendo for the rest of the century. Photographic artists across the medium are grappling with the ongoing realities and predictions of mass extinction. Now You Don’t: Photography and Extinction seeks to make the biodiversity crisis increasingly perceptible and looks at photography in an attempt to fathom the severity of this change. The forty-six works collected here gesture toward a contemporary aesthetics of endangerment and species loss.''
▲ Image from my Insecta project.
I'm pleased to report that the MAP6 photography collective invited me to join today.
MAP6 describes itself as "10 photographers working together to learn, experiment and make new work about the complex relationship between people and place. Annually, the group travels to a place new to everyone, and over the course of a week the group works to form a collective, photographic impression of that place through its landscape and people".
Work by MAP6 has been featured by the British Journal of Photography and the BBC, and appeared in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
▲ Right-hand page: photo by MAP6 member Heather Shuker, selected for Portrait of Britain, from MAP6 collective's The Shetland Project.
As part Brighton Photo Fringe 2018 I'm exhibiting a selection of images from my Digital Archaeology Project at Damage in Trafalgar Street. On lightboxes! For more details...
''Today's technological change is unprecedented. We are both in awe of and intimidated by our devices: we want to possess them but fear being possessed by them; we are schizophrenics, both technophiles and technophobes. A paradox: despite recent manufacture, how can 21st-century technology be as ancient as these photographs suggest?''
▲ Lightboxes installed at Damage