Liza Dracup is a British contemporary photographer whose work captures a magical and often eerie atmosphere, revealing a photographic vision unavailable to the eye. For her new series of photographs, Landmarks, she turns her attention to photographic material in the Harrogate Fine Art collection.
Dracup was given access to the Mercer Art Gallery's collection of Victorian photographs and invited to respond to them in her own way. She selected mainly stereoscopic photographs taken within a 35 km radius around Harrogate, often by anonymous photographers, ones which gave her “the feeling of the ordinary landscape’.
Landmarks features well loved and familiar Yorkshire locations: Hackfall Woods, The Strid Wood at Bolton Abbey, the spectacular railway bridge crossing the River Nidd at Knaresborough and Ilkley Moor, all seen through Dracup’s painterly lens. She often explores aspects of the landscape at different times of the day and night, where the shutter remains open long enough to capture parts of the spectrum that are normally invisible to the eye. It is, says Dracup, an “in-between light” that reveals opposites: “light and dark, day and night, ‘truth’ and ‘illusion’”.
Long exposures, such as her photograph of the spectacular railway bridge crossing the river Nidd at Knaresborough, give the effect of layering and the natural side lighting also adds a sense of theatrical drama. Her pictures of Ilkley Moor at night, where the warming-up sodium street light illuminates the underbranches of a fir tree, picking out each twig in a bright and usually hidden red, reveal patches of colour and light which have a magical quality, allowing you to stumble into a secret place.
Dracup, a north of England based photographer, has developed a national reputation for her photographic practice, being previously nominated for both the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012 and the Prix Pictet (Earth) Photography Award 2009.