FotoFest Exhibitions

Emma Livingston

Selected By: Darren Ching and Debra Klomp Ching, Directors,
Klomp Ching Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, United States

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Emma Livingston’s stunning imagery of the Argentine Northwest transforms this desolate and stark landscape into a vision of lush color and texture, instilled with a sense of mystery. Although quiet and understated, the photographs that form the Noroeste Argentino (NOA) series are not only visually provocative, but sophisticated in their observation.

The first thing that strikes you about NOA is the palette—rich gradations from dusty umber, ochre, and brown to slate grays and blues. Photographed on a plateau at a high altitude, the mineral-rich terrain is transformed into a vista of otherworldliness. Emma Livingston has chosen a uniform light, casting little or no shadow. There are few clues as to the scale of what we see: pebbles are seemingly rendered large and boulders small. The absent horizon, too, serves to disorient the viewer: rising hills could easily be far in the distance or close enough to touch. The unreality of the landscape is further compounded by the square format of the frame, whose performative role is to contain, to demarcate, and to focus our attention.

On the surface, these images appear elegantly simple, evoking a silent tranquility. Beneath the surface, however, there exists a subtle tension, resulting from a conscious combination of light, texture, color, and a division of space that ultimately depicts the landscape as an abstract entity.

- Darren Ching and Debra Klomp Ching


British artist Emma Livingston was born in 1976. She graduated with a degree in art history from University College London in 2000. Her work has been exhibited in the United Kingdom, France, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States. In 2007, her NOA series won her first prize in both the Prix de la Photographie (Px3) and the London Photographic Association competitions. In 2009, she was nominated for the Prix Pictet 2009 Earth prize and was listed in Photo District News as one of “30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch.” Her work has been published in Lens Culture, France; DWELL, United States; NextLevel, United Kingdom; Zing, Shanghai, China; and European Photography, Germany. She currently resides and works in Argentina.