JD Haigh’s multi-disciplinary works are inspired by her immediate surroundings, whether they encompass the sea, land or city. Primarily through a photographic practice, she captures images of specific structures, or landmarks that focus the eye and configure the imagination. She considers these focal points to be topophilic, in that they are indicators of particular places that promote human identities and a sense of belonging.
Despite the specific characteristics of these chosen focal points, they are often generic of their architectural or landscape types. This use of typical structures or places explores a metaphorical or poetic reading of the image. Haigh is often drawn to the industrial edgelands of town or country. These in-between places challenge conventional expectations of what should be chosen, framed and fixed by photography. Haigh celebrates edgelands as places that are free from the constraints of organised space.The unforeseen, or ‘decisive moment’ in photography can transport the viewer into the realms of fantasy and wonder. Haigh often experiments with the framing of the image by using additional layers of print or paint. Through these layered video works a resonance is created between the stillness of the under-layer of print or paint, and the movement of the over-layer of video. This assemblage of mixed media imagery can be read as a palimpsest of fragmented memories.
These photographs and recorded videos are, inevitably, images of the past and ‘are as much an interpretation of the world as paintings and drawings are’ (Susan Sontag, On Photography, pp. 3-4). Nothing much happens in the moving images of Haigh’s repertoire, there are no defined narratives or critical moments, instead, there is an invitation for the viewer to pause and reflect upon familiar places, often exposed in a very different form of light.