Beginning with a humorous, playful feel, the title of this collection is an arch, knowing reference to the fixed positioning of the camera while the subjects shift around it, providing the change and influencing the landscape. In taking this approach, Harsent provides a clever and subtle linking of landscape and subject, nature and human, which makes the disruptive presence of the subjects against this seemingly static backdrop all the more acute. Thematically, there is much here in common with his earlier collection, Salt Moon, and the more recent White Cube, which also deal with questions of perception and assumption. However, there are interesting differences in this treatment to reward the unhurried eye.
Crucially, despite their clearly defined role – the compositional part they play – we never lose sight of the subjects as people. Partly, that is to do with the implied narrative detail. The solo, yet paired portraits encourage us to look again at the title and consider another layer of meaning in its clear connection to relationships. This is a study of couples, standing in the same place yet separated by something outside of their control, in this case, an edge and border – a framing decision. However, there is also a strong sense of the individual in these pictures – the composition of the portraits remains the same, the portraits themselves, wildly different. And, while the static, rigid poses may feel formal at first, there is an ease and a familiarity at work here, dropped trousers and all. This act, in particular, rocking the rhythm outside of the photographer’s control, exhibits trust, familiarity and, above all, humour. It elicits a laugh, we get the sense that we are among friends. It’s funny because it’s true.