The Fenlands is an area of flat, low-lying land in eastern England. It’s a place dominated by open spaces – where fields stretch for miles. Karl Roberts, a photographer based in the region, sees this landscape as a blank canvas – an environment in which he can “create the magic he doesn’t see in the world around him.” The results are shown here: surreal compositions inspired by innermost human thoughts and feelings. Figures drift amidst pastel skies, tethered to Earth by ropes or surrounded by endless seas of mirrors.
“My pieces are all self-portraits, which has made me quite vulnerable,” the artist explains. “My thoughts and feelings are right there on the page ready for anyone to view. It’s very open, which can be intimidating, but I love the idea that I form a deep connection with the viewer through the emotions in my images.” Roberts expresses these sensations through an array of visual metaphors, as pages scatter from open books and bright red flowers burst onto open roads. Some compositions – in which Roberts dons suits and ties – may remind readers of paintings by René Magritte (1898-1967), where faceless figures float amongst clouds.
Many of Roberts’ works come from a place of letting go: both mentally and artistically. “Once I learned that it was okay to – and was even advised to – break the rules of photography, my ideas exploded; I slowly began to realise that anything is possible. I freed my mind about the idea that photography has to be ‘correct.’ I realised I can do whatever I want to do with my photos; that’s when my work really took leaps and bounds in the right direction. It was very exciting to watch myself grow through my art.”
All images courtesy Karl Roberts.
1. Wilting Away
2. Nothing Lasts Forever
5. As Reality Starts to Tear