The MA student at Goldsmith's, London, explains how her award-winning project is inspired by the idea of going against the flow.
Sculpture and landscape come together in Tanya Houghton’s This Must Be The Place, which the judges (Simon Bainbridge, Leo Scott and Laura Pannack) chose as the winner of the graduate series category of the BJP Breakthrough Awards.
Houghton, who is currently studying an MA in photography and urban culture at Goldsmiths, made the work during 2013-14 at a time when she was looking for new experiences, she explains. “I became really fed up with society’s need to constantly have a plan, this rigid structure we feel we have to conform to – where are you going? What are you doing? So the project is based on this idea of going against the flow, walking, looking, and seeing what you’re surrounded by.”
The concept was to devise a map based on the “ways we walk, rather than the maps we follow,” says Houghton, who studied a BA in fashion photography at the London College of Fashion.
Having photographed landscapes in places such as the Pyrenees, Turin, Los Angeles, Spain, and Iceland, among others, Houghton made prints and folded them into paper aeroplanes before unfolding them and placing them alongside other paper aeroplane versions of the same print, this time mounted on a stand and then re-photographed to create a separate still life. Each pairing comprises a single artwork, she says.
“I started working with the images as an image isn’t just a 2D object,” she says. “We’re seeing this really great shift in photography where people are trying different things, creating collages, and so on; where the 2D image isn’t the end result. I think it’s really exciting and we shouldn’t try to limit ourselves with it.”
What began as a simple project became quite complicated, she says, involving careful decisions about which paper stock to use, and how to fold the paper to ensure the ink would crack correctly. “You have to choose quite a cheap ink, and it has to be done at a certain temperature, on a particular type of paper,” she explains.
“But I kept folding and unfolding the prints to reveal these beautiful ‘maps’. The goal was to create paper aeroplanes from photographs to give this tiny glimpse of a landscape, to give a hint that you could get away somewhere.”
Tanya’s work will be exhibited at the Breakthrough Photography Awards, showcased this June. More details here.
See more of Tanya’s work here.