Dinosaur Dust

Research output: Other contribution

Abstract

Dinosaur Dust is an artist’s book resulting from a residency in 2014 with Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency (JTHAR), and subsequent visits in 2015 and 2019. The work sits within the genre of documentary fiction or ‘crooked documentary.’ As such, the photographic practice used documentary tropes to test the veracity of the image, to tell new stories and make new myths. Research questioned the relationship between self and environment for the inhabitants, people who have chosen to live in the inhospitable and extreme landscape of the American western desert. It also asked whether this genre of photography was particularly appropriate to reveal the human struggles beneath hidden appearances in a hostile environment.

Made with the community based around the edge of Joshua Tree National Park, California, Childerley explored the appeal of extreme landscape, referencing the concept of the sublime and the seduction of the abyss. The research was based on observations of encounters between people and nature, and examined light, impermanence and the faculties of seeing. Childerley also integrated drawing into the practice, developing her experiments in artifice and interpretation. Working with the extreme contrasts of local night and daylight, the series extended the narrative potential of photography in relation to its abstract capacities, and the subsequent exhibition challenged audiences with a distorted reality that was simultaneously uncanny and unknowable.

The research was funded by JTHAR and Another Place. Work in progress was presented at Joshua Tree Art Gallery (2014) and the book was published by Another Place Press (2020). The work was shortlisted for Burn Emerging Photographer Fund in 2016 and reviewed in ‘Burn’ magazine. It was also featured as a photo essay in the ‘Independent on Sunday’ (2016) and ‘Vision Magazine’, China (2017).
Original languageEnglish
TypeArtist's Book of Photographs
Edition1st
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

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