The Orphaned Spaces: Still Lives

The Orphaned Spaces, still life booklet (c) Dunlin Press
The Orphaned Spaces, Still Lives booklet

Our latest book, The Orphaned Spaces, collates a number of different styles of photography and illustration, in different sections detailing the flora and fauna discovered on real areas of edgeland, brownfield sites and waste ground. Still Lives is one such section.

Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.
Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.

Yarrow, ragwort, plantain, mallow… these are the plants we often overlook, but do much to define the ecology of our wilder spaces. In The Orphaned Spaces, we greet them with photography, fine art, illustration and prose.

Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.
Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.

Taking the form of an A5, 148-page book and/or made-to-order box setThe Orphaned Spaces is an illustrated exploration of overlooked areas of natural beauty – edgelands, ex-industrial, derelict and brownfield sites, and the sometimes rare flora and fauna that is found there.

More than a nature book, it is a rumination on life, loss and time, through the prism of liminal spaces captured in moments between dilapidation and regeneration.

Hand-stitched still lives booklet
Hand-stitched Still Lives booklet, The Orphaned Spaces.
The Orphaned Spaces, still lives section.
The Orphaned Spaces, still lives section.

Originally the botanical still life photography was intended for our own personal research purposes. As part of our artistic process, we often make visual records when putting together our publications. We find visual research very effective in distilling a mood, capturing sometimes overlooked idiosyncrasies of a place or object; it’s generally a good resource to draw from when writing or illustrating.

As we’ve mentioned previously, The Orphaned Spaces started off small and has grown into a larger continuing project, as well as the book and limited edition box set.

Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.
Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.

The botanical photographs were created with plants and flowers gathered in the spring and summer from various edgelands and brownfield sites we visited over the course of our research. Inspired by Japanese ikebana, the plants were arranged starkly (sometimes with the help of wire and tape) on a plain, neutral background, to look like they are growing in isolation, and shot quickly.

Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.
Botanical still life, The Orphaned Spaces.

The book and box set feature an edited selection of these photographs, however we are also amassing a growing library of images, now with various pioneer plants and botanicals gathered in autumn and winter. Perhaps these will lend themselves to an exhibition at some point in the future.

You can buy The Orphaned Spaces book and box set at our Dunlin Press shop.

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