“The series is about a great nature, but also a reflection on man’s footprint. Regardless of whether this is of grave concern, or if it is an unnatural but natural evolution, is up to you.”
Jacob Howard is a New Zealand born photographer who has shot for and been featured by an extensive list of clients. Much of his work focuses around man’s footprint on the landscape whilst at the same time celebrating the unnoticed and undocumented areas of the world. His work takes him deep inside territories to help him ‘Construct observations’ and craft narratives that would otherwise go untold.
Each one of Jacob’s series is a beautiful depiction and narrative of a place many of us will likely not see.
What remains is a series that discusses mans intervention and footprint within a landscape but also the majesty and grandeur that still prevails.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Jacob as he explains what his series ‘What remains’ is about.
“The crags were capped in nests of domes, less hotly red than the body of the hill; rather grey and shallow. They gave the finishing semblance of Byzantine architecture to this irresistible place: this processional way greater than imagination… our little caravan grew self-conscious, and fell dead quiet, afraid and ashamed to flaunt its smallness in the presence of the stupendous hills… Landscapes, in childhood dreams, were so vast and silent.”
I wanted to share with you this passage of text from T.E Lawrence’s book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, because It was after I read this that I started to dream about visiting Wadi Rum. It ignited my desire and it wasn’t long till I was heading its way.
What is the series about?
The series is about a great nature, but also a reflection on man’s footprint. Regardless of whether this is of grave concern, or if it is an unnatural but natural evolution, is up to you.
Why did you shoot it?
I went to the Wadi Rum for a few days but ended up living there for a month.
I was able to stay right in the middle of the desert helped out by a Bedouin family. They gave me a great insight into the desert way of life and hardships people endure living there.
Isolated and with a great desert right on my doorstep, the Wadi Rum became my focus.
One step at a time through, heat, wind, rain and snow. Stripped from everything I knew, no transport, no wifi, no map, I would take long walks along the desert floor and up into the mountains, getting a little lost and disorientated amid craggy peaks before finding my way back. The more comfortable and familiar I became, the further I went, absorbing the special atmosphere of Wadi Rum’s hidden heartland.
Once you reach the top of a mountain, there is always another one, it’s this curiosity that pulled me through. I had never felt so small but at the same time so free, through my work I wanted to capture this isolation and expand on it.
Do you have a specific workflow from idea to an outcome?
In terms of my workflow, once my idea is conceived, repetition normally plays a core part in my process, while in the Rum, following my desire to stay in the same place, I would revisit the enigmatic landscapes and structures I was most drawn to, photographing them again and again under different light, in different weather and from different perspectives till I found something I liked.
Over time I built up an archive of images, so that when it came to editing the photos down, I could comfortably strip them right back to my core essence. That of great nature and man’s footprint.