"The out-of-print photographic volume 'Bastard Countryside' by Australian photographer Robin FRIEND collects together 15 years worth of exploration within the British landscape, dwelling on what Victor Hugo called the ‘bastard countryside’: 'somewhat ugly but bizarre, made up of two different natures'. Robin FRIEND'S large-format colour images scrutinise these inbetween, unkempt, and often surreal marginal areas of the country, highlighting frictions between the pastoral sublime and the discarded, often polluted reality of the present.
Starting from a classical landscape tradition, the meticulous 5x4 photographs by Robin FRIEND are given heightened effect through exaggerations of colour and composition, embodying a friction between British pastoral ideals and present reality. In particular, Robin FRIEND follows moments in which the expected narrative of the landscape is rudely interrupted: often through leakage, pollution, or the wreckage and containment of nature.
In his accompanying essay, writer Robert Macfarlane describes 'Bastard Countryside' as 'a vision par excellence of our synthetic ‘modern nature’– produced by assemblage and entanglement rather than purity and distinction'. Contained within Robin FRIEND’s photographs are 'hard questions […] about what kinds of landscape one might wish either to pass through or to live in; about what versions of ‘modern nature’ might be worth fighting for, and why.'" (publisher's note, © Loose Joint, 2018)
- Robert Macfarlane
- Book design
- LOOSE JOINTS
- Section sewn quarter-bound embossed hardcover with tip-ons front and back (no dust jacket, as issued), 24 x 27 x 2 cm., 104 pp., 51 colour ills., text language: English