Caroline Black

Caroline Black

I am a photographer and digital artist living in the North East of England. I grew up in Edinburgh, moved to London later in life, and then spent a decade in the Middle East. Learning vastly different customs and traditions in the UAE and Oman, my interests started with the interplay of place and identity. I began to understand the importance of culture within society and the sense of belonging this affords. My practice has developed from an overarching topic of folklore (knowledge of the people) leaning into narratives of the feminine and issues of womanhood. My work is rooted in magic realism and the blurred boundaries between the real and the surreal. My methodology often favours digital manipulation which allows me to create other-worldly aesthetics imbued with symbolism and hidden meaning; latency in the latent image.

At the core of my practice is the locale of woods and forests, an archetype of the folktale. The epitome of the cycle of life, woodlands are charged with feminine symbolism, providing the perfect backdrop for a narrative of womanhood. Yet, the symbolism of forests far exceeds only the feminine. Expansive areas of untamed nature, woods are also symbolic of the subconscious. They represent the unknown and the mysterious. Exploring the woods can represent navigating difficult situations, confronting fears and anxieties, or embarking on voyages of self-discovery, as popularised in folktales.

Inherent to my framework are theories of the uncanny and the fantastic. As psychological experiences linked to the unknown, both embody a mix of emotional responses such as fear, confusion, denial, or disbelief. In effect a mood, an atmosphere, a feeling. Drawing on these theories presents an opportunity to create work that speaks directly to an often short-lived, liminal experience and expand it into something to be fully explored and interpreted. In relation to my practice, the uncanny is, therefore, a tool to awaken memories and evoke emotive responses, provoking the viewer to explore and find meaning according to their own memories, experiences and beliefs.

I am currently working through the final level of a BA (Hons) in Photography with the Open College of the Arts.


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