Robin Friend, ‘Untitled’, 2008, Aperture Foundation

"The Belly of the Whale [series] is affected by the cumulative consciousness and experiences of the past. The shipwreck, the white horse, [and] the light at the end of the tunnel are archetypal images and ideas that resonate and reoccur throughout history: [in] the arts, mythology, and religion.

Through every manifestation, their meaning has shifted and evolved. We are left with these symbolic images that are simple and instantly recognizable in design, yet more convoluted in their nature and meaning than we are ever likely to imagine. To recognize the deep changes in human experience and perception over time is to recognize the fragility and fleeting nature of our own existence and modern civilization.

"The Belly of the Whale is about seeing and experiencing these feelings. Standing before the subject, I know if I am witnessing the 'Belly.' It is difficult to explain: a mood, a balance, a sensibility, nostalgia, nihilism, and melancholy all rolled into one. It is instinctive and primeval and relies on ones capacity to imagine and comprehend."

—Robin Friend

Paper size: 20 x 16 in.

Signature: Signed and numbered by the artist

About Robin Friend

Robin Friend uses his camera to investigate the uneasy relationship between human beings and nature, taking exquisite photographs that reveal the various ways, both subtle and overt, in which we encroach upon the natural environment. Working in thematic series, Friend approaches his subjects with an explorer’s adventurousness, an activist’s concern, and an artist’s sensitivity to beauty. In one particularly moving series, entitled “With Sorrow Snare”, he photographs a saltwater crocodile, mouth gaping, rising out of the water to lunge at a piece of meat dangling above him on a fishing pole. For “Belly of the Whale” (2008), he photographed an old shipwreck at the foot of a dramatic cliff—his slow exposure allows the sea to dissolve into an indeterminate fuzzy mist, giving the works a haunting, eerie quality.

Australian-British, b. 1983, London, United Kingdom, based in London, United Kingdom