Balancing Materiality

Ellie Davies, Shortlisted Artist from the 2016 Aesthetica Art Prize, has been awarded in the Fine Art Single Image category at this year’s Magnum Photography Awards. 41 photographers who have been selected for the second edition of the accolades, chosen by a jury of world-renowned curators and experts from organisations like National Geographic and Aperture. Stars 8 is part of a captivating series of  images made within forests examine a diminishing connection with the natural world in the face of increasing urbanisation and consider how landscapes play a formative role in the creation of identity. Davies often melds these intimate forest sites, associated with her youthful adventures, with images of stars and galaxies taken by the Hubble Telescope. Shifting from micro to macro, she overlays an intensely personal narrative with its widest possible context.

In the 2016 Future Now: 100 Contemporary Artists publication, Davies expands: “Stars explores my desire to find some balance between a relationship with the wild places of my youth and a pervasive sense of disconnectedness from the natural world. Today, the majority of people live in urban or semi-urban environments, experiencing the landscape from a distanced position mediated through technology and various media. From this viewpoint the notion of the landscape in all its sensuous materiality, our being within it rather than outside it, seems beyond reach.”

For more information about the awards, or for the full list of winners:

The Photographers Gallery, London, hosts a digital exhibition of the winning images from 9-18 October. For more information:

1. Ellie Davies, Stars 8. Courtesy of the artist.