Artist Statement
Peter Holliday

Peter Holliday (b. 1992) is a photographer from Scotland currently based in Glasgow. He received his degree in Communication Design with first-class honours from the Glasgow School of Art in 2015. In Aug 2015 he was selected as one of 20 art graduates for Creative Review’s UK-wide talent spotting showcase in collaboration with JCDecaux and Creative Translation. Peter has been published internationally, most recently in the French daily newspaper Libération, and has been invited to exhibit his work at the Reykjavík Museum of Photography in Dec 2015.

Peter Holliday HeimaeyPeter’s photographs document the existential and symbiotic relationship human beings share with the environments we find ourselves in. Drawing on the academic landscape writing of theorists such as Anne Whiston Spirn, Yi-Fi Tuan, and Edward S. Casey, Peter reflects on themes of time, memory, home, and community within the context of the cultural, historical, political, and emotional significance of the topographies that underpin humanity’s existence. Inspired by the common culture, history, and geography shared by the Nordic nations, Peter is currently interested in exploring this complex interaction between mankind and the landscape within the broad locale of Scandinavia and north-west Europe.

Peter Holliday Westman islandsPeter’s latest body of work Where the Land Rises captures the stark coastal terrain of the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago in southern Iceland, a restless landscape forged by intense geological violence that originates deep within our planet. On 23rd January 1973, Heimaey, the only inhabited island of Vestmannaeyjar, suddenly erupted sending columns of lava into the sky from a mile-long fissure. The eruption of Eldfell – as the 42-year-old volcano is now known – led to a five-month evacuation of the island, destroying many homes and violently altering the geography of Heimaey. Nevertheless, the landscape of Heimaey is revered by its inhabitants as a home; an island refuge in an often unforgiving environment. A people who exist between a landscape gone and a landscape to come. By documenting the portraits and stories of several people who experienced the eruption, Peter was able to imagine a past landscape now lost beneath the lava and investigate a moment in Heimaey’s recent history when the island’s entire community came unnervingly close to losing everything. Where the Land Rises is a series that considers our perception of the landscapes we regard as home and how these changing environments shape the human condition.

Peter Holliday - Where the land risesPeter is also interested in both philosophy and political theory with a specific focus on Marx, Camus, Sartre, Heidegger, and Chomsky. He was awarded a distinction for his final year undergraduate dissertation entitled From Proletariat to Precariat: Representations of Labour within the Age of Globalisation. Citing the work of artists such as Sebastião Salgado, Steve McQueen, and Alan Sekula, Peter discussed the relationship between theories of Marxism and contemporary representations of labour – both in photography and the moving image.