'In the Forest of Things' is a Postgraduate Show, celebrating the work of forty-four MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Students from the London College of Communication (LCC). Inspired by the words of renowned writer Ryszard Kapuściński who urged storytellers committed to telling authentic stories to feel the world on their skin, the students present a rich and diverse range of responses to his challenge.
Featured in the exhibition is ‘Comharradh’, the work of 2014 Metro Imaging & The OGC ‘Close Up’ Mentorship
winner Lynda Laird, an audio-visual installation it is the result of sustained engagement with the peat bogs and moorlands of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. At heart, it is an ode to the moor; to its component parts, peat, water, sea, and sky; to the wide open spaces that create the sense of what is commonly known as ‘landscape’; and to the local language and poetry which attempt to represent it. Lynda invites the viewer to immerse themselves in the moors using abstract prints of the landscape accompanied with the sounds of the moors and its people together with official documents concerning land development, videos of the local flora, and fifty kilos of raw peat.
Lynda explains her desire to represent the moors in her work and the current changes that threaten the area and it’s associated culture. “Although the pure poetry of the moor would be a worthy documentary subject in itself, my desire to represent the moor was also driven by a political imperative. Through the eyes of big business, the peat lands of Lewis are seen as desolate and unworthy of preservation. This idea of desolation has legitimised calls for mass development from energy companies who are trying to build upon and dig up the moor in order to construct wind turbines. Building upon peat deprives it of the water that sustains it, releasing tonnes of the carbon stored in its structure.”
She continues, “Rich cultural forms are created through the centuries long relationship between people and place. If the peat disappears, carbon, poetry, culture, and language will be lost. Comharradh plays a role in remediating that loss by asking the viewer to become acquainted with the land; to perform acts of place- and self-making, mental-mapping, poetry and song."