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20th February 2020

Art In Mancunia: Shona Sterland

Phedra Broach interviews photographer Shona Sterland about her work photographing the local landscape, and what we can expect for Art In Mancunia 2020
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Art In Mancunia: Shona Sterland
The Photographer – Shona Sterland

“If moving image technology had been accessible in the 18th and 19th centuries, would more artists have used it to portray the tumultuous, terrifying scenes they were painting?” Posing this striking question is 21-year-old photography student Shona Sterland. Born and raised in the industrial city of Manchester, her present project explores the relationship between sublime landscape and the moving image.

In keeping with our unevenly developed city, Shona uses a combination of analogue and digital cameras. She has recently begun experiments with an 8mm film camera, to see the difference analogue makes for moving image technology. Her favourite lens is a 50mm, as it is best for the landscape photographs in which she specialises.

As evident from her work, Shona favours black-and-white photographs, lending a nostalgia to her pieces.

Shona Sterland - Landscape details and aggressive winds
Shona Sterland: Landscape details and aggressive winds

In her research, Shona connects the sublimity and liminality of the natural landscape to the uncanny. Mark Fisher defines the uncanny as “the strange within the familiar, the strangely familiar, the familiar as strange.”

Shona Sterland

Shona states that moving images have changed the way people view photographs, and can bring an entirely new feeling to landscape scenery.

Shona Sterland - Landscape details and aggressive winds

She believes that photography in her hometown has a lot of range and potential. Manchester lends itself to images of architecture, streets, or fashion, but due to its industrial heritage, finding landscapes is difficult. However, Shona departs from typical imagery of the city and looks outwards.

Shona Sterland

In the future, Shona hopes to work as a mentor for children, or as a teaching assistant in a university, though she also hopes to have her work in a gallery and published.

To see more of Shona Sterland’s work, check out and follow her Instagram @ssterland


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