Tag Archives: Mandy Williams

Beyond the Reach of Rivers – photography by Mandy Williams

Beyond the Reach of Rivers
Fishing Quarter Gallery, Brighton
Wednesday 1 May – Monday 6 May 2019 Open daily 11am – 5pm

Beyond Land 10_Mandy Williams
Beyond Land #10 © Mandy Williams


Beyond the Reach of Rivers is a photography exhibition by Mandy Williams that brings together work from two photographic series about the sea to the beachfront in Brighton.

Sea Level is shot in the Sussex town where she lived as a teenager and focuses on the beach shelters that line the promenade – a place to congregate and watch the sea. The photographs are taken at high tide, when the shelters are empty. Their windows are weathered and dusty and scratched by the wind. Absent of people, their presence lingers through traces of graffiti, dirt and other debris. The view of the sea through this prism produces images that are often quite abstract – the sea and the markings on the glass have equal importance in the finished photograph. Dust and neglect becomes part of the image, reinforcing the sense of melancholy which runs through many seaside towns.

In Beyond Land the photographs take place at the street, a causeway that reveals itself at low tide, stretching out towards the horizon like an umbilical cord connecting us to the sea. Started a month after the referendum result with its emphasis on Britain as an island nation, geographically and psychologically separate from Europe, the photographs show a collective march to the water’s edge. The line of people following disappearing paths out to sea not only documents our innate connection to water but can also be seen as a metaphor for the times.

Sea Level 09_Mandy Williams
Sea Level 09 © Mandy Williams

Mandy Williams is a photographer and artist who works on long-form landscape series concerned with the psychology of place and how the marks of time and human presence affect the environment. Often her photographs show a place that has been compromised – either by environmental factors or by its connection to a specific narrative.

Beyond the Reach of Rivers is her 3rd solo exhibition in the UK. Recent group exhibitions include the 209 Women exhibition at the Houses of Parliament (2018) and Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool (2019), and The Family of No Man, Cosmos, Arles (2018). She received the Photography prize at the Royal West of England Academy in 2014, 3rd place in the International Photographer of the Year Award 2017 in Landscapes: Seascapes, and work from Sea Level was shortlisted for the 2018 Hariban Award, and was an Awardee in the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards 2018.

*The title of the exhibition is taken from Loren Eiseley, an anthropologist and natural science writer whose writings frequently reference our evolutionary connection to the sea.


Contact information: Mandy Williams info@mandywilliams.com / 07817 397 747 / https://mandywilliams.com
Fishing Quarter Gallery, 201 Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 1NB
info@quartergallery.co.uk / 01273 723064

The Landscapes of photographer Mandy Williams

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Mandy Williams is a visual artist working primarily in photography and video. Her work covers range of subjects, but centers around the theme of the social dynamics arising from contemporary culture – particularly how personal identity is affected by environment and how our social and affective lives interconnect. This interest in the psychology of place has been a catalyst for both autobiographical and voyeuristic projects, documentary approaches to more conceptual ones. Much of her photographic and video works highlight the domestic environment, although some refer more broadly to place and sites in transition.

Her recent series share an underlying narrative about human interaction or presence. Some of these include Unseen Landscapes (2012-15), which use Google Street View as a starting point to create somewhere otherworldly, and Riverbed Stories (2012-15), photography and video documenting polluted river beds in South East London.

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Both ‘Unseen Landscapes’ and ‘Riverbed Stories’ stem from the idea of contemporary landscape. The detachment is undeniable in how people interact with the landscape, whether it is by remote observation, or utter disregard. A roadside natural setting is disrupted by castoff personal items such as mattresses, chairs, gloves, floating shoes and discarded baby carriages. The images point to the pollution of the natural setting, and also to a sense of detachment to nature by the people who thoughtlessly threw these items away. Williams depicts these items in the water and weeds with a sensibility toward the loss of both the intimate history of the items, as well as the lost natural beauty of the English landscape she documents.

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In the same sense, the detachment from nature in ‘Unseen Landscapes’ starts right at the moment the images are made. These landscape images captured by Google Street view are made without bias, without thoughtful intent. The images are made by an unblinking eye traveling the land. Williams presents her versions of these images as soft, monochromatic toned views. She has used images from this archive to present scenes that she herself has never seen in person, nor visited. Visually, the presentation of the images in a circular format references (intentionally or not) the early photographic prints made by the Kodak No. 1 camera. This makes for an interesting visual homage to one of the earliest commercial photo products (You press the button, and we do the rest) while appropriating images from one of the largest publicly available digital image databases in the world. So much of the world we experience online is via digital captures made half a world away; one has to wonder if ‘Unseen Landscapes’ is a commentary on the subject, or a reflection of it. Either way, Williams has created beautifully crafted portraits of the land which also prompt the viewer to think about their own interaction and connection with the world around them. 

To view the projects, or see Mandy Williams’ work, click here. Images shown are © Mandy Williams.


Mandy Williams is a photographer living in London, UK. She previously lived in Vancouver, Canada, but has since returned to her home country of England in 2002 and has been contributing to different exhibitions and publications in the UK, and internationally in exhibits and in publications.

Website: www.mandywilliams.com
Twitter: @artphotofilm