151MC: Stephen Vaughan – Ultima Thule

I began looking into the work of Stephen Vaughan and in particular his series titled Ultima Thule. In this series of work Vaughan explores the connections between geology, history, archaeology, memory and the constant urge for humans to explore and alter unknown territory. One of the themes which is apparent in Vaughan’s work is the transformation beneath the surface and being concerned on one level with the scrutiny of these natural phenomenas. These images were made in Iceland, a country which is rich in tectonic activity which has left many volcanoes, fissures, glaciers, geysers and steaming sulphurous pools.

One of the main reasons I found this series so interesting was the background to the images and the overall aesthetic of the images themselves. As a viewer I found it helpful to have a small piece of context provided for the images. Also being told that the images were made in Iceland allowed me to visualise the surrounding landscape and understand how these images only represent a small portion of it. I also really like the muted tones and colours in the images. It makes the overall appearance of the series stronger, this is something I will need to consider when selecting my final images and how I would order them if I was to put them in a book.

I really like how Vaughan has photographed these landscapes and the tones and colours within the images. I want to aim for a similar aesthetic and point of view for my images. In a way they are almost documentary style, they show the scene how it is and give the viewer enough information to work out part of the context but not enough so it isn’t impactful. In order to fully understand his series I needed the accompanying text so this is something I am going to include in my own work.

References:

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Published by

Charlotte Pattinson

Photography student

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