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© 2017 John Kiely        john@purlieu.photography             Phone +447736849388

Abstracting the Algarve.

October 19, 2019

My intention was to work on a project of two halves.  The first being based around the area where land meets sea.  On the Algarve this is very different to the British coastline that I am used to.  The Ria Formosa runs along the coast and has in effect created barrier islands that protect the mainland from the ravages of the Atlantic.  This also created salt marshes.  Some of these marshes have been left while others have been turned into rectangular, shallow lagoons for the extraction of sea salt. This interaction between man and the elements has created a strange, almost abstract, semi surreal environment.  I intend to explore these locations along the coastline of the Algarve.



The second half of the project was to ‘abstract’ my view of the more urban aspects of the Algarve, to react to, and respond photographically to the mix of old and new that gives the area it’s character.  Coming from an area where often buildings aren’t allowed to get old, they are demolished and replaced with higher and higher structures to cram as much as possible into a small footprint.  In the Algarve new exists alongside old, modern next to traditional, new builds next to ruins.  This is modified by the local’s love of graffiti, mainly as an art form.  Often this has been formalised into commissioned murals both on new apartment blocks and on empty buildings.  A deserted church in Olhao is labelled as a street art museum.



Once I started shooting I realised that the second half of the project, the urban one, was going to be visually too different to the coastal work.


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