The Dream Park series focuses on the urban public park and other public amenities such as seafronts and city beaches. Public parks are designed to be used and enjoyed by the general public. The intention is to bring a little bit of the countryside into the city and as such acts as a release valve for a large urban population, living at close quarters, and who are generally deprived of nature and open space in their daily lives. However, by providing an environment where all members of society have more freedom than in other parts of the urban landscape, they also simultaneously allow space and freedom for more bizarre, sinister and unhealthy activities to take place. There is a dichotomy at play making the public park a unique and intriguing environment in the urban landscape.
The duality contained within the ecology of the public park is the central thread running through the images in this series. While the majority of people use these spaces for perfectly normal and positive activities such as walking the dog, having a picnic, feeding the ducks, pushing a pram, jogging or playing a game of football, a darker side runs in parallel the drug dealing and taking, homelessness, prostitution, violence and even murder.
The photographs in this series are a response to this dichotomy, at once expressing their contrived beauty or picture perfectness with a sense of unease and foreboding. The aesthetic palette of the 19th century Pictorialists is employed, combining the look and feel of early photographic processes with the atmospherics of inclement weather fog, rain, snow - as a backdrop in an attempt to obscure the detail within the scene. By contemporising this technique, it becomes a visual metaphor. While these scenes may look somewhat pleasing, the lack of detail hints at a fuller picture and a sense that there is more going on here that is obscured from view.
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