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Society of Drowned Persons

Updated: Nov 29, 2019

by Megan Daly

Joseph Clark is a student photographer based in Glasgow, Scotland. For Issue #4, Farewell Earth, we are sharing a selection of images from his working project titled Society of Drowned Persons. In previous projects, Clark has explored the tension between technology and the individual, experimenting with methods of visualising and materialising the relationship. In his book Black Hole, pages after pages are filled with rows of minuscule black dots, with each dot representing 50,000 data records, the book in its entirety communicating the amount of data collected daily by GCHQ.

Moving away from abstract portrayals of 21st century life, Society of Drowned Persons confronts us with stark, fleshy images. Floating awash their own blood, a dozen stunned eyes gaze out from the pile of sardines. Perhaps taken at the fish market, the power of these images lies in their gruesome definition, the moist folds of flesh limp under melting ice.

Clark isn't certain where this project is heading, but states the images come from a place of contemplation on the current ecological crisis and a sense of panic of survival for humanity. In many ways, the a fish market can be seen as a crucial symbol of our time. While fish populations are falling due to warming oceans, thousands are turning to veganism as a means of climate action, and at the same time, the fishing industry in Britain played a huge role in Brexit due to its dissatisfaction with EU regulation.

In installation, Clark makes use of scale, presenting huge prints to engulf the viewer. Overwhelmed with clarity and detail, the images may consume the viewer, suggesting an interesting cycle of consumption.

To see more of Joe's work, or to contact him, visit:


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