The environment and our responsibility to it on a global scale has been a major issue for several years, and is one that exists very much as a focus of the work of British photographer John Davies. As addressed in the opening text, provided by Armelle Canitrot, there is a clear thread running through his work examining and seeking to understand the landscape with Hidden River carrying this exploration further.
The 2013 publication focuses on the journey of the Tiretaine river, with Davies following its modest course north from its source near the Puy de Dôme, France. The documentation of this river’s run is made difficult, though evidently not impossible, by the fact that due to industrial developments and channeling of the water, over half of the Tiretaine’s length is hidden underground. Acknowledging and embracing this element of the Tiretaine’s existence, Davies presents a collection of visually contrasting photographs; those in colour celebrating a free flowing natural river, with the more oppressive black and white images denoting areas under which the water remains unseen, unnoticed.
Hidden River shows Davies as an investigator; the work in this collection is one that poses many questions addressing the urban and natural world and the conflict between them that seem to reinforce themselves via the photographs , their points resonating with each progressing image. One cannot however deny, despite the seemingly literal subject matter, that Davies is addressing each viewer directly and on a personal level; he uses the river as a metaphor to throw a spot light onto the denial and secrecy that it is in human nature to indulge, leaving a question as to just how much we are concealing below the surface and the lasting effects this may have.