Photographs 1999 - 2005
Dominant Wave Theory
Published by Booth Clibborn Editions, London &
Abrams Books, New York.
Designed by David Carson
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In 1991 Hughes began photographing the plastic waste he observed on the beach, after surfing along the coast of south wales. For over 25 years he has studied and photographed along the coastal zone. In the late in 90′s he started photographing various item of trash along the intertidal zone.
Hughes recalls seeing the exhibition Rubbish and Recollections, by Keith Arnett, co-organised by a renascent Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno and the Photographers’ Gallery, London. As a young student Hughes saw this show, the content of which connected with his experiences living and surfing in South Wales. Between 1999 and 2006 Hughes was consumed by making images of the plastic waste matter that came to rest along the beaches where he surfed, the results of which were published in this book in 2007.
‘Andrew Hughes’ photographs of rubbish at the beach speak to this dread. His monumental photographs of the banal relics of our evermore super-sized and disposable lifestyles intimate the hidden depths that lurk beyond the superficial disgust with which beach junk fills us. We are dismayed by the desperate irony that the very beaches we seek out as physically and psychically restorative refuges are as irretrievably polluted as our toxic hinterlands’.
© Lena Lencek
Hughes has been doggedly photographing human society’s flotsam on beaches for ten years. As a surfer, his relationship to the coastline is intimate, and his view is close and dramatic. He creates confounding magic from washed-up trash, plastic bottles, disposable beverage tops, tangled fishing wire, and deflated beach toys-just some of the objects he has captured in England, Scotland, and the United States. The statuary images he finesses from them are at once majestic and insidious. Starkly positioned where found, the human-manufactured items look dangerous, lonely, and strangely monumental, their presence a distress against such lovely backdrops as sand, sea, and sky. Blending artistic beauty with environmental exposé, Hughes is successful in making the viewer wonder how garbage affects our oceans and beaches. Five essays contextualize the work in artistic and environmental terms and call attention to the immense ecological problem these objects present. Finely designed (by David Carson) and printed, this is an excellent first book for the photographer. Recommended for large public and academic photography collections.
© Library Journal Review, USA, Deborah Miller