When the forests of UK met the Hubble

Ellie Davis gets up every morning to go to one of the most beautiful offices in the world – The forests of UK. An ace artist and photographer and an alumina of the London College of Communication, she has been working in the forests for the past seven years, creating images which explores the relationship between the landscape and the individuals.

As such, the forest represents the confluence of nature, culture, and human activity. They are ever-present in folklore, fairy tale and myth, places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery. In more recent history they have come to be associated with psychological states relating to the unconscious.

Against this backdrop her work explores the ways in which identity is formed by the landscapes we live and grow up in. Today most people live in an urban or semi-urban environment, thus experiencing landscape from a different and distant perspective altogether. In one of the her most recent series titled Stars, 2014, she addresses this distancing by drawing the viewer right into the heart of a forest which still holds mystery, and offers the potential for discovery and exploration. These photographs are then overlaid by photographs taken by the Hubble telescope creating a very exciting space between realism and fantasy.

Since both the forests and space have now almost become elements of nature that the society is mostly disconnected with, these images go on to reinforce how things such as forest camping trips and treks or simply watching the stars at night are now seldom seen in anyone’s calendar. The image effect is at once stunning, amazing, exciting, interesting, soothing, menacing, and fraught with potential danger

Mature and ancient forest landscapes are interposed with images of the Milky Way, Omega Centauri, the Norma Galaxy and Embryonic stars in the Nebula NGC 346; its physicality and tactility set against a profound and fundamental otherness, an alienation that separates us from a relationship with the natural world.

These altered landscapes operate on a number of levels. Apart from being outright gorgeous, not only do they create a space which is both mystical yet real, but most importantly they draw the viewer into the forest space, asking them to consider how their own identity is shaped by the landscapes they live in – or how alienated everyday life really is.

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