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A Peculiar Convenience

I started this body of work in the 1990s and called it Human Nature and described it as a tragi-comedic look at our relationship with the natural world. I have continued to add to the project but in recent years, but with our increased understanding of what is happening to the environment and the evidence of our impact upon it, it has appeared to me to represent something much darker. As the evidence mounts up, it's a very uncomfortable realisation. We can hunt and stuff a dead animal, put it in a box, we can build dams, we can use nature as camouflage, but we have exploited it and abused it for our own convenience, conquering and controlling, sanitizing, packaging and perfecting it for our needs and desires. But we're not in control at all. We've been kidding ourselves all along. 

“Ask anyone, for what purpose everything exists… The general answer is that everything was created for our practical use and accommodation! ... In short, the whole magnificent scene of things is daily and confidently asserted to be ultimately intended for the peculiar convenience of mankind.  Thus do the bulk of the human species vauntingly elevate themselves above the innumerable existences that surround them”.

G.H Toulmin, The Antiquity and Duration of the World, 1780.

Six images from the series were included in the exhibition 'New Natural History', curated by Val Williams at the then National Museum of Photography in Bradford in 1999.  A selection were published in Dazed and Confused. In 2020 eight  images were selected by The Urbanautica Institute from their Open Call 'Extinction, the World Without Us' with a catalogue printed and plans for an exhibiton. Also in 2020, the work has been shortlisted for Format Festival Open Call - 'Control'.

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