Liza Dracup
17 September 2016 to 8 January 2017

Landmarks is an exhibition and publication, commissioned by the Mercer Art Gallery with new work by Yorkshire photographer Liza Dracup, inspired by the visualisation of the landscape of northern England found in the work of early photographers in the Mercer's photography collection. The Mercer commissioned a photographer to respond to their extensive photographic collection, which holds examples of original work of photographic pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron and the contemporary lens-based work of artist Tacita Dean. 

The Mercer Art Gallery’s historic photographic collection is a fascinating time capsule that exposes layers of social, political and photographic history. The collection holds various early examples of different photographic approaches, methodologies and visualisations of the landscape and natural history of northern England. The early examples of experimental stereoscopic photographs by anonymous photographers and their pursuit of mimicking human vision were of particular interest in the commission. This led to two distinct research strands. The first being an analogue photographic approach (night and day) at various locations across North and West Yorkshire at iconic sites such as, Ilkley Moor, The Strid (Bolton Abbey Estate) and Hackfall Wood. The second research phase used studio based strategies to visualise the natural history element of the landscape with plant specimens photographs. The exhibition highlights the cultural value and significance of collections based research so as to reposition historic photographic traditions in a contemporary context and extend the possibilities of photographic visualisation and engage audiences with the aspect of the landscape and natural history.

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