Photography is an ever-evolving technology to which Holdsworth has dedicated his entire life and career.
It is not entirely sure, where in time Dan Holdsworth’s photography is located. His committed bonds with science advance both image and reality into the future.
With the enthusiasm of an explorer, photographer Dan Holdsworth uses a technique akin to radar imaging which scans ever crevice and crevasse of the landscape.
The process is highly technical and requires close collaboration with scientists. Holdsworth is mapping and modelling the landscape in a geological sense as much as he is photographing it in an artistic one.
For the series ‘Continuous Topography’ from Chamonix’s glacier landscape every detail and every angle is recorded. A helicopter is used. The images are then processed with a software which recognises their features and extrapolates them. The final result is a 3D model so exact that each dot retains the glacier’s original colour.
Regarding science and art as separate, photography in particular, belies a longstanding history. In 1842 John Ruskin painted the Mont Blanc and its glaciers while in 1861 Carlton Watkins set out to tame the American West with a crew of scientists (and a camera the size of a railroad car). Unencumbered by boundaries their documentation of the landscape was studied as a scientific object and appreciated for its aesthetic qualities.
Every image moves the frontiers between art and science closer together.
Presenting well-researched and open-ended information is crucial to the artist-scientist who has been sponsoring a Ph.D. program for the past years. Holdsworth is keenly aware that we are now in a moment in time where humankind is the defining feature of our geological – the Anthropocene. It is the first time in history that mankind has an influence on the deep layers of the earth’s makeup.
The second and slightly more important incentive is the aesthetic. According to Holdsworth, aesthetics is the key to open up the language of seeing to people. How to understand this human geological moment? This is where Dan’s photography comes into play, being an eye-pleaser as much as an eye-opener.