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similar colour and texture to the walls in my home. A huge wave swept in and erased the whole work and there was a moment of recognition that of course this inevitable change would be the outcome. Later, revisiting some of the beaches I had stayed near on childhood holidays, I came across some rock pools whose bases were lined with a pink coralline surface, and I was reminded of the dream of home. The photographs I took of these gemlike mirrors in the rocks became part of a project that involved making a marine environment in my studio. With the help of Plymouth University’s marine biology technician, I kept blenny fish, jellyfish, seaweed and other marine life and photographed them from the underside of a glass tank to create emblems of the wider sense of home, of a fragile ecosystem on the edge of vast forces and highly susceptible to the changing tides, sea temperatures, and salinity of the ocean. They are also

Tide Pool 24.

2015.

Unique Ilfochrome print

51cm diameter a kind of homage to the Victorian botanist and photographer Anna Atkins, who published one of the first photography books – on the subject of algae – as well as to the earlier, pre-Victorian, richly populated state of these pools.

To make this particular work, it was necessary to learn how to control a limited range of temperature, salinity and oxygen content in the tank and how to handle the marine life carefully enough that it would survive the stay in my studio. This is a very different experience from that of taking a photograph of a rock pool on the beach with a camera – from a distance. It’s not an observation or a recording process, but more like participation in a very fragile complex event that includes imagination and insight as part of the liquid mystery of the whole.

www.susanderges.co.uk

Issue 313

Resurgence & Ecologist

49

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