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#HarenaNow - An introduction to Josie Purcell and her awesome work

Art can be a powerful medium to communicate important issues, especially in an age where there is an overdose of information about the crises all around us.

We'd like to introduce Josie Purcell and her work to you. It is beautiful work underpinned by an ethos of care and responsibility and we love the brilliant colours! If you get a chance, do visit her exhibition. It's on until the 29th of Jun, 2018. For more detail visit https://www.josiepurcellphotography.com/upcoming-exhibitions/

Below is her artist statement:

#HarenaNow by Josie Purcell.jpg

"I am fascinated by science and nature and photography provides me with the opportunity to meld the magic of both, particularly as I tend to work with alternative photography techniques. 

Much of my practice reflects my interest in environmental issues, commenting on the human impact on the Earth. 

Harena Now is my photographic response to the still lesser-known environmental and humanitarian issue, the global sand crisis. 

The demand for sand, particularly to be used in booming construction industries worldwide, has created, and is creating, problems for people and place. As only sand taken from sea or riverbeds rather than deserts is suitable for building materials, some experts are concerned that its over-exploitation will lead to it running out. 

In some countries sand mafias have sprung up, and people have lost their homes, livelihoods and even their lives. But the environmental changes are immense too, effecting eco-systems and wildlife that live in, or near, our oceans and rivers. 

Harena Now images are created with sand using a camera-less technique at my local beach in Cornwall. I make the work in a way that strips back the chemical photographic process, enabling me to work in an outside ‘darkroom’ while also minimising my own photographic footprint. 

How people respond to non-documentary images relating to environmental issues is also intriguing to me. Rather than showing documentary photographs, with Harena Now I have made aesthetically pleasing abstract-styled images that aim to catch the viewers attention. Through the juxtaposition of their appeal and the story behind them, I hope to encourage a fuller awareness of the topic. 

Having learnt about the global sand crisis in 2017, the more research I undertook the more I felt the need to help shine a spotlight on this problem. 

For many people sand is a reminder of happy times at the seaside and it has shaped our civilisations for aeons and continues to do so. 

So what would happen if this unassuming and under-appreciated resource did run out? 

My images meld various sources of inspiration from the passage of time to geology, the microscopic to the vast, the anthropocentric to ecocentric ideologies, and the past to the present. 

Through Harena Now I hope to add to the growing conversations about this situation but also encourage people to consider how this particular issue relates to their own lives."