Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bas Princen - Artificial Arcadia


I have a book of colour photography I got a few years ago that I go back to every now and then - Artificial Arcadia by Dutch photographer and architect Bas Princen.



It's pretty hard to find many of Princen's pictures online. The book is about is about "un-natural" leisure spaces, disregarded zones between suburb and field, empty left-over spaces put to other uses, the "jardin anglo-chinoise of the golf course:

"His photos show snippets of landscape, not as an illustration of reality but
rather as images of a potential reality of this landscape. He often photographs
places that we do not know about, too abandoned to be nature, places whose
initial function we have long forgotten about, even if they have retained traces
of it. What interests him and what he photographs is the appropriation of such
places, and traces of activities reveal them in their true nature, and restore a
new reality to them. These are mutations of landscape which, through new and
often fleeting uses take on a different meaning."



There are some images by Princen here, but mostly not from Artificial Arcadia.

I must say that these kind of spaces have always fascinated me, from playing in old industrial sites and abandoned wool baron's mansions (owned by the superbly named Titus Salt) as a child right through to my current photographic work on suburbs, urban wild spaces and interstitial zones and alleyways.