ALL IMAGES AND TEXT COPYRIGHT MAGA ESBERG 2014
Wytham Woods Artist Residency:
In 2013 I initiated an artist residency at Wytham woods, an area of woodland owned by the University of Oxford and used for environmental research and conservation.
In this ‘Atelier en plein air’ I initially experimented with pinhole cameras and light sensitive materials. Eventually hanging photographic paper on branches and exposing paper directly on the ground to create intimate images and minimise my impact on the woods’ flora. I made months long exposures which, combined with the changing weather conditions, created unique and unrepeatable images; the wind abstracted leaves and branches and the rain and heat melted the photo emulsions. I privileged these deliberate imperfections that humanise the work and noticed that the sun trails, photographically burnt by the pinhole camera, made the earth revolution and orbit in space visible. Each trail marks a day of my life and reminds me that what you see isn’t always what is.
The pinhole images have been edited to be shown as several individual videos playing on a bank of screens. The photogram images have deliberately not been chemically fixed so when the public removes the protective cloth to look at the work, the work changes and deteriorates in a similar way our interaction with nature impacts on nature. The work is ongoing and I am currently developing 3D prints of spider webs and casts and rubbings of felled trees. I see the process of making an intrinsic part of the work adding an experiential element to techniques and concepts.