In Arcadia, the Peruvian photographer Ian Howorth attempts to represent the essence of England, his home since he was 16 years old. An intimate work, blending loneliness and nostalgia.

Ian Howorth, a photographer of Peruvian origins based in the United Kingdom, started to capture his surroundings in 2013. “I had been creating videos for a while, but I found the commands boring and frustrating. Then, one day, a friend asked me to take pictures for an event he was organising, and I have not stopped since then”, he remembers. Still a young photographer, Ian Howorth feels his approach evolving. Although he jumped into the media with haste, shooting intuitively, he now felles the need to take a step back and think more about his projects. Arcadia, published as a book edited by Setanta Books Editions in 2019, is a personal projects constructed around the concept of home. “I am fascinated by Great Britain: its textures, its odors, its sensations… By working on the project, I realised that this interest was rooted in my childhood. I spent a lot of time in England when I was younger, and I finally moved there at 16 years old”, the photographer tells us. Standing on two cultures, two histories, Ian Howorth attempts to put his experience into image, between distance and belonging.

What makes up England

Throughout this intimate quest, the author constructs a poetic and nostalgic universe — a glimpse of “his” United Kingdom. “I often relied on Google street view to discover the places I used to hold close to my heart. Often, the hints were subtle — a simple feeling, a strange sign, or even a wall that intrigued me”, he specifies. Empty diners lit by morning light, charming rural houses and typical seashores make up Ian Howorth’s universe. A peaceful, idyllic and strangely retro environment. “I needed to revisit my past in order to try to understand what really make up this England, he tells us. I missed a lot of things during my first visits of the country, and the places I photographed became these sorts of “cultural relics”, artefacts of a past era: they disclose a great deal of information.”Named Arcadia as a tribute to this notion of utopia and promised land, the series proposes a different view of the British territory. Sublimed by soft lights and tender loneliness, the pictures show an intimate and timeless space.

 

Arcadia, Setanta Books Editions, 30 £, 114 p.

© Ian Howorth