In 1995, I moved from the heart of London to a tiny ranger’s cabin atop a gigantic cliff overlooking the tempestuous South Atlantic Ocean. Here, at the edge of the world, in a Patagonian national park, I learnt to “see” the incredible perfection and harmony of the natural world.
Two years of observation and thousands of photographs culminated in a new understanding of how human greed is destroying in less than a century, what took the planet millions of years of evolution to create to utmost perfection.
After publishing my first book “The Wild Shores of Patagonia” (Harry N Abrams, NY, 2000) I made a conscious decision not to photograph the destruction of the natural environment, (other people were already doing that) but instead to concentrate on finding the last vestiges of pristine nature. I wanted to portray the world, as it had been over millions of years, pre-archaic landscapes, where humans have no place.
I set myself the goal to show natural perfection in its uttermost beauty, by finding those places that will soon disappear forever – such as the melting ice-caps. Soon I became fascinated with the surreal sculptures of ancient ice and the concept that what I was documenting was the actual transformation of our planet’s history, as it was melting away before my very eyes.
The global melt is visually beautiful, but at the same time painful to watch, as I am fully aware that I am working in a race against time. Here today and gone tomorrow, these surreal sculptures will soon disappear forever.
They are sculptures of time and of the elements and many are more beautiful than a human could ever create or conceive. Art is all around us and over the course of many expeditions to wild places I found natures’ sculptures everywhere, and began to photograph mountains, deserts and icebergs like works of art.
All of my work is a metaphor for global change: the glaciers that are melting away give rise to more deserts and drying lakes to salt flats that appear as the planet gradually heats up.
Archaic landscapes that have remained untouched such as the Namib desert and the Patagonian Andes, are juxtaposed with those that man has attempted to conquer but was ultimately pushed back by the majestic forces of nature (Remains). At the end of the day the planet is not only at our mercy, we are also at the mercy of our planet, and it is already retaliating in the form of hurricanes; severe droughts and floods.
Although I find our sense of omnipotence disturbing and short sighted, I do not attempt to change anyone’s opinion or attitude through my photography - it does not matter in the larger scale of things. Humans are but a spec in the timeline of the universe.