At the heart of Gina Soden’s photography is a preoccupation with abandoned structures and locations. Traveling widely to undisclosed sites throughout Europe, she explores the boundaries of beauty, decay, nostalgia and neglect. The genesis of each piece is often the unique architectural character of each location, heightened by their painfully slow transformation after years of abandonment.
Rather than taking a documentary approach, Soden breathes a sense of life into the scenes, hinting at narrative with studied compositions. Characteristically each image has a distinctly painterly aesthetic, side stepping the tendency that photography has for observational and distanced looking. Soden’s approach is lyrical and directs the viewer to explore the concepts of time and memory. The compositions feature derelict asylums, long since closed schools, ex-military compounds and famous city power stations in various stages of decay. The results are striking and poignant, at once both edgy in their contemporary aesthetic and nostalgic in their ruinous beauty.
The work is underscored by the potential controversy of gaining unlicensed access to the out of bounds areas. Every image is a product of a journey, referring both to the physical demands of gaining entry and to the passing of time which is evident in the abandoned locations. Like the Romantic poets before her, Soden offers room to reflect on more romantic notions of beauty and a sense of calmness despite collapse and structural devastation.
In 2012 Soden’s work was acquired by The Groucho Club, one of the most respected private members clubs in London featuring work by Damien Hirst, Michael Landy, Gavin Turk to name a few. The same year she was selected for the popular exhibition by the artist and national treasure, Sir Peter Blake entitled ‘Things I Love at The Fine Art Society’ in New Bond Street, London. In 2011 Soden was a finalist in the Practical Photography Magazine Annual Award. In 2010 she was commissioned by The Cat Street Gallery to produce work for Art Smile, a group show featuring a host of international artists to benefit the charity, Operation Smile. She exhibited in 100 Artists for Pride, in the Brighton Arts Festival and in Spring 2010 Soden was awarded photograph of the year by the Royal Windsor Photographic Society.
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Wokingham, Berkshire, England