It was whilst on safari in Africa that Lorna Evans discovered her passion for photography using a simple point and shoot digital model, bought for her overseas sojourn. So much so it prompted her to change her painting and drawing subjects at Art College in favour of photography, studies she continued at the University of Wales some time after and eventually turned into a career.
Since then her work has matured and evolved into several subtly layered collections, often depicting pets and closely exploring interspecies relationships and interactions.
Evans images and subject matters are bold and beautiful but also slightly haunting, due in part to her curiosity for death and transcendence that manifested when she witnessed her father passing at a young age. It is particularly present in Vestige, a series of shots of urns and vessels containing the remains of beloved family pets. “Vestige stemmed from not only my fascination with death but also my fascination with animals” she says. “People are aware of the tremendous feelings of loss one can feel after a family member or friend dies. Vestige was intended to explore how people feel when nonhumans die, that a loss is still a loss, and it can hurt so much they can’t let go.”
Nature is often a key feature in Evan’s pieces as well, again a reflection of her past, having lived the majority of her life in the ex-mining town of Blaenavon in South East Wales, UK. Says Evans, “I was exceptionally lucky to grow up on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park and I loved losing myself in nature, investigating the moors, forests and abandoned quarries on my doorstep. The wilderness still feels like a different world to me.”
It is the wilderness that plays a key role in her series Of the Night, whose synopsis reveals that “we cross the threshold into an unfamiliar realm, guided by dogs into a tense and mysterious world”.
Shooting at night-time proved to accentuate that unfamiliarity with the outdoors; and the jarring severity of the dark, juxtaposed with the aggressiveness of the flash, further embeds a sense of foreboding and unease in the observer. “We’re all guilty of forgetting about the outdoors” says Evans. “It’s not what comes first to us living in our houses with all the amenities we could possibly need, but sometimes it’s good to go out and feel a connection to the natural world that most of us have lost” she says.
Dogs were also an important part of the process and her subjects revealed themselves to her whilst out photographing hunters in the forest. Whilst initially the humans were her focus, Evans says “I decided that these domesticated creatures were integral, not only as a guide for us through this alien landscape, but also as a reminder that humans were close”
Now with an Of the Night photographic tome in the works, we are sure to be seeing a lot more of Lorna Evans’ poignant pieces on the horizon.
All images courtesy of Lorna Evans
A heartfelt thank you to all the photographers, artists, illustrators, and writers who trusted us, dived in, and brought us delight, grace, excitement, courage, wilderness, and wonder over the last five years. Their work not only reflects the bonds we share with our animal companions, it also celebrates their spirit.
None of this would be possible without our four-legged counterparts who sprinkle magic dust time and time again, and our readers, who embraced this kooky idea, rallied around us, and made this world theirs too. With friends like these, who needs nine lives?
February 5, 2019