Early in the morning, before breakfast and the beginning of the workday, photographer Jem Southam takes to the countryside of southwest England, visiting and revisiting the hills and dales of Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, and Somerset. His lyrical photographs of these places, taken in series over several years, chart the subtle evolution of this picturesque countryside as it has been transformed by both natural processes and human intervention. Ostensibly topographic and descriptive, each achieves a greater power thanks to an allegorical language that draws on our collective imagination.
Landscape Stories is the first comprehensive collection of Southam's work, drawn from three completed series: The Pond at Upton Pyne, The Red River, and Rockfalls, Rivermouths, and Ponds, along with several smaller groups of pictures from series still in the making. Southam's brief narratives about each site together with essays by Gerry Badger and Andy Grundberg, which examine Southam's work from European and American perspectives, respectively create a rich context for viewing these remarkable, large-format photographs.