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Tim Hall | Curatorial note

Curatorial note by – Camilla Gore

Contemporary British photographer Tim Hall uses the mountains, deserts, and seas as his palette to make both striking and serene images that articulate the power and presence of the natural world, and in turn our place within it. Through his landscape photography he seeks to evoke an emotional response to the physical presence of nature. The emotion carries the viewer beyond a literal viewing of the image to reflect on universal qualities: power, sensuality, permanence and tranquillity.

At once humbling, comforting and inspiring, these images re-establish the primacy of nature over man. They drive home the order and beauty that arises from nature’s infinite application of seemingly order-less processes across boundless expanses of time and space. Above all, they confront the viewer with an awe-inspiring authority, stirring him to regain a sense of personal perspective.

Taken across the British Isles, the Coast Series depicts the drama of the ocean. The glyptic tension woven into the waves of “Solent I” frightens and fascinates as storm clouds brew ominously. By contrast in “After the Storm”, the viewer is invited to share in vast stillness and serenity, to trace the line of a horizon, unencumbered and without end.

This sense of scale pervades the Mountain Series. Here, the massive presence of the alpine landscapes defies those same skies, declaring a severe and regal immanence unmoved by turbulent skies and tumultuous clouds. In “Grand Tour”, a monochrome landscape dwarfs three human figures as if to remind that they are there by its grace alone.

The Desert Series works on a similar scale but elicits altogether different emotions. Through a developing use of abstraction, nature is presented at its most sensual. The desaturation of the images reveals the minimalist poetry of the landscape, allowing the undulating curves of the dunes to take on an erotic quality and the play of shadow and light to seduce the viewer.

By presenting the natural world in an abstract manner, Tim blurs the line between photography and painting. His focus has moved recently from depicting different races and cultures towards the natural environment. “That is not to say,” says Tim, “that people have become less important, in fact their diminishing presence in the frame has inspired a more emotional response to my pictures. In this way my photographs have become more humanised.”

The series shown here underscore this concept, with the landscapes revealing personalities to which we respond instinctively and emotionally: the ocean, passionate and excitable; the mountains, majestic and steadfast; the dunes, quixotic and soulful. By communing with these personalities, we reflect on our own emotions. Leading busy urban lives, we strive daily to impose our will on our environment, yet Tim Hall’s work is a reminder of the beautiful and magnificent world that surrounds our own.

Tim Hall studied Art History at Manchester University. He has worked as a photographer for over twenty years, specialising in travel, landscape and portraiture. His works are typically long term projects and commissions conceived as a series and exhibited as a collective body. Tim lives in London and is represented by contemporary art galleries across Europe, South East Asia and the USA.