In Altering the Edges, Ellen Dahl continues to probe the concept of the landscape to find ways to articulate the uncertainties of place and belonging. Drawn to the uncanny and the ambiguous, Ellen’s projects often use the photographic lens to frame intimate local perspectives in order to reveal poetic ways ¬to contend with overwhelming mega-concepts like globalisation, the Anthropocene and the subsequent climate crisis.
Originally from arctic Norway and of Sámi descent, Ellen has an ongoing interest in ‘places at the edge of the world’, interrogating the aesthetic/poetic potential within the expanded field of the medium and unpacking photography’s close relationship to the landscape as a cultural construct and geological imagination. She is currently working on a long term project exploring the north/south peripheral sites of Svalbard, Norway and Tasmania, Australia.
In September 2019 she travelled to the Norwegian arctic archipelago of Svalbard, wanting to explore the dark aesthetics/poetics of this exposed barren landscape. There was a heightened awareness of time, working to capture these images right at the cusp of winter, knowing that the landscape would soon be blanketed in snow. While this site is renowned for its pristine nature and projection of deep time, the stain of human activity is concurrently intuited across the geographical topography. One can sense the human/non-human edge here.
Upon her return, Ellen invited writer/poet Hannah Jenkins (with whom she has an ongoing transdisciplinary collaborative relationship) to write poetic responses to her work from Svalbard. Two of these responses, VALLEY and A Glacier Leaves a Deep Cut, are presented in Altering the Edges at PhotoAccess.
Image: Ellen Dahl, Field Notes from the Edge #13, (2020), archival pigment print