Looking at the landscape photography of Laura Plageman, it can take a minute to get your bearings on what’s going on. Her technique of manipulating prints then rephotographing them not only plays tricks on your eyes, but it might leave you questioning the nature of photography altogether.
When we usually see a photograph, we are used to thinking of it as an image — a depiction of reality. Plageman’s Response series presents us with a photograph of a photograph. It is a essentially a still-life of a piece of paper that has been sculpted by hand. To fully appreciate the images, you have to get your head around the two realities you’re seeing, that of the landscape, and that of the photographed piece of paper. It’s, like, very metaphysical and stuff.
On a purely aesthetic level, Plageman’s photos work because the forms created by manipulating the print mirror the untamed forms of nature. There is a unity there that is bizarre but seems totally coherent as well.
Landscape photography has a long and storied history, but much of what’s popular today consists of monotonous repetition of HDR effects and super-heightened colour. It’s great to see an artist extending the genre in a way that is both visually interesting and thought-provoking.
See more of Laura Plageman’s work on her website.