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Contributor focus: Lisa FurnessLatest News ->

Mon 29 Aug, 2016.

Travel photographer and SDk03 contributor David Hicks was the subject of our first contributor focus article; the second in this series looks at the recent work of Lisa Furness. We’ve always liked Furness’ work for its portrayal of the built environment and its suggestiveness regarding the human responsibility involved in “urban decay” – that’s why she’s previously had an item in our Latest News section, and why she was our featured photographer for SDk03.

Furness travels a great deal to take her pictures, but the resulting images cannot be categorised as travel photography: her camera captures the devastating consequences of a corrupt and out-of-control financial system and the economic and human disasters that flow from this system. These issues are not simply economic – they are ultimately political, and thus does Furness provide us with a tacit commentary on the political decision-making processes that allow these economic and human disasters to occur, and then to reoccur, and to reoccur yet again.

In October 2012 Furness embarked on an extended period of travel throughout the United Kingdom and the European Continent. Her objective was to experience first-hand and to record the effects of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and the way diverse communities are coping with, or in some cases resisting, its very real reverberations.

The GFC needs no introduction; what might need introducing is the fact that its consequences are still unfolding. Moreover, a lack of political will to rethink economic models and to reform and (re)regulate the financial-services industry is resulting in the reinflation of property bubbles and the recreation of conditions that promote other forms of speculative investment. The economic orthodoxy – that is, those responsible for the failed systems that led to the GFC – are adding to the toxic mix of political and economic policies with the ideology of “austerity”, which is being imposed on public sectors worldwide and exacerbating already-widened and increasingly entrenched socioeconomic inequality. Furness helps us understand the meaning of what is happening at ground level.

Thessaloniki, Greece.  Copyright © Lisa Furness Thessaloniki, Greece.  Copyright © Lisa Furness
Grenada, Spain.  Copyright © Lisa Furness The Basque Country, Spain.  Copyright © Lisa Furness Ireland: newly built supermarket, never opened and now abandoned.  Copyright © Lisa Furness

In addition to the consequences of corruption and breakdown in the western economic–financial system, Furness has also documented the built environment of a number of former Eastern Bloc countries after the Revolutions of 1989. Together with our selection of her work in Greece, Spain and Ireland (above), her images of the post-1989 Czech Republic, Romania and East Germany provide an insight into contemporary Europe that runs counter to a narrative of prosperity, equality and, indeed, democracy.

Milovice, post-1989 Czech Republic.  Copyright © Lisa Furness Post-1989 Romania.  Copyright © Lisa Furness
Post-1989 East Germany.  Copyright © Lisa Furness Post-1989 East Germany.  Copyright © Lisa Furness

Lisa Furness is exhibiting with SomethingDark in Berlin. She will be attending the exhibition, which opens on 2 September, and is presenting three images from her latest work documenting the physical effects of systemic political–economic failure in Ireland, Portugal and Slovenia as well as three images from her contribution to SDk03, all presented as A2 fine-art prints. For full details, see our SDk Updates item Announcing SomethingDark in Berlin: the SDk03 launch event and exhibition.

We also invite you to read our first SDk Latest News item on Lisa Furness, from 2012: Introducing Lisa Furness: capturing the essence of place and time.

See Furness’ first blog post announcing her photographic tour of Europe, On the Road – Introduction, 15 October 2012; and see her blog archives from October 2012 for her complete “On the Road” series of posts.

Finally, see the SomethingDark Contributor Directory for a short biography, photo gallery and other information on Lisa Furness, including direct links to her SDk03 contributions.

Text copyright © SomethingDark 2016. All images copyright © Lisa Furness 2014, 2016. All rights reserved.