Jennifer Pattison

As a child, I loved to read books that were full of magic. While playing in the wild woods where I grew up, images from these miraculous stories would transcend the limits of my thoughts and become almost real. Memories of these moments have stayed with me into adulthood. But as an adult, I have found it difficult to find the space to experience esoteric events, given the western culture I’ve grown up in, which says these things do not exist. I thought I had lost the ability to manifest imaginings to my childhood.

It wasn’t until I read books such as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and The Magus by John Fowles that I realised I still had the capacity to do this. The words in these books triggered tangible feelings in me, and vivid images, that I had not experienced since I had stood in that Sussex forest as a child.

This project is a work-in-progress. I photographed Part One, in Rio, in Brazil, and was inspired by One Hundred Years of Solitude. I found inspiration in the natural world García Márquez describes in the novel – a real world setting combined with supernatural elements, enchantment and mystery. It is a reality where a woman levitates and disappears into the sky, but the event is described in a way that makes it seem as commonplace as the falling of rain.

In a similar vein, the author portrays something as mundane as ice with such wonder and awe, that it too becomes magical.

My intention was not to re-stage events from the novel, but to use it as a springboard to provoke a playful, and perhaps naïve way of looking.
While I was in Rio searching for locations to shoot the project, I never felt alone. Creeping alongside me were the aerial roots of orchids, clinging onto every tree, and string-like tendrils brushed the top of my head as I passed beneath them. At times I thought I could hear the plants growing. This ancient, green place was full of stories. It was as though the plants were weaving through my camera’s lens into my photographs to form part of another ‘real’ world.