Inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Landscape with a flight into Egypt, 1563.
Landscape with a flight into Egypt initially attracted us because it showed deep contrast in light and dark areas, the light areas highlighting the land that has been left behind and therefore is known to the travellers and the dark covering the land that is yet to be discovered. The other thing that drew us to this specific image is that this painting opened our work in many different ways: we could have for example followed the course of landscape photography, or look more specifically at the idea of motion and stillness in an image.
Whilst researching the image we discovered that the painting was representing the escape of the holy family from Jerusalem, emphasising ideas of fleeing, immigration and movement in general. We picked up on ideas of new beginnings in this painting as, whilst leaving one land behind, one embarks a new journey, which gives a person a clean slate. Other things we found through our research was that Breugel wanted to depict the landscape as still and the birds, people and water as in motion. Upon discovering that the painting is about fleeing from King Herald’s plan of massacre, this reminded us of modern day struggles and wars which are often at the centre of immigration. This gave us the idea of working with water.
Initially we thought we would focus on the subject of new beginnings, photographing water in motion, possible streams, or gushes of water. However, we realised this idea could have developed further and decided to take the concept of the image into a modern day setting by replacing, mountains and rivers with council estates. We chose to look at council estates as areas, which were once supposed to be modernist architectures idea of utopia but which have now become an area of danger where people want to flee from. By submerging the images in water we added a physical dimension of motion to our image.
Our experimentation took us in many different directions, starting with simple photographs of water, finishing under studio conditions photographing the rippling affect of water on a still image, linking back to the idea of the landscape being still and the elements in and around it being in motion.