The Human Landscape


The Human Landscape depicts the rural landscape of Britain marked everywhere by the activities of man. As we live and work on the land, we alter it before moving on or passing away. Our marks often outlast us, but in time they too fall into ruin, standing as forlorn metaphors for the passage of time and our own mortality.

The Human Landscape, an exhibition of 32 black-and-white images, was launched at mac (the Midlands Arts Centre) in Birmingham in July 2001, and toured across Britain during 2001/02 to national acclaim.

In The Times, under the headline 'Beauty is in the eye of Simon Denison', chief art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston wrote: 'There is a school of landscape photographers — Fay Godwin is probably the best known — which dismisses the Beautiful Britain cliché. Simon Denison belongs to this school ... The beauty appears almost accidental in these stark black-and-white images. It is all the more powerful for that.'

In The Guardian, art critic Robert Clark wrote: 'Simon Denison photographs the rural landscape as a constantly changing site of interaction between organic forces and manufactured detritus. He even brings out the beauty of our messed-up countryside.'

In Photo Art International, editor Roger Maile wrote: 'Simon Denison's images are fine-art monochrome prints which are a delight on the eye, but which also make a quiet — yet profound — statement about human impact on the landscape. His photographs are considered and gently provocative.'

On the website 24HourMuseum, David Prudames wrote: 'Simon Denison's stark black-and-white images reflect a changing and multi-faceted relationship between humanity and the evolving world ... They offer an intriguing insight into the fate of what we leave behind, while reminding us of the powerful beauty of the natural landscape.'

A book of the exhibition, The Human Landscape, was published by Greyscale Books in 2002 (ISBN 0-9541878-0-6 48pp 32 duotones) at £12.95.

Click on thumbnails for larger images

Offa's Dyke near
Clun, Shropshire, I

Black wall, Durness, Sutherland

Watertank at Dhustone

Treepost with horse, Random Overgrown quarry with mattress

Broken railings, Loch Arklet, Stirlingshire

Broken fence in woods, Llanglydwen Offa's Dyke near
Clun, Shropshire, II
Standing stone in woods, Llanglydwen Signpost at Two Crosses
Sheep shed, Brown Clee, Shropshire Sunken Lane at Duckspool, Somerset Wheel ruts, Long Mynd, Shropshire Coastline at Cley, Norfolk Shed with sink, Inversnaid
Black slate quarry with seabird Mountain road with lead mining spoil Former quarry road, Magpie Hill, I Gateposts of country house, Llanforda Abandoned quarry, Titterstone Clee
Airfield building with car shadow 'Clo Until', Onibury, Shropshire Ruined quarry building, Abdon Burf 'Maenclochog is a Dump' Ramparts and trees, Croft Ambrey
Field of thistles, Dhustone Former quarry road, Magpie Hill, II Weathered post near Dyffryn Ardudwy Broken trailer in mist, Broomfield Disused military huts with sheep, Balnakeil
Deserted village, Godwick, Norfolk     Hut, rock and trailer, Clachtoll, Sutherland