Robin Friend


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Tue, 05/09/2023 - 11:30am to 12:00pm
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photographer Robin Friend about his show “Bastard Countryside”

On Tuesday, May 9, 2023, at 11.30am Joseph Gallivan interviews photographer Robin Friend about his show “Bastard Countryside”, which is on now at Blue Sky Gallery through May 27.  Friend talks about hunting disused and overgrown industrial and military sites in his homeland of Great Britain, the signs of stress between nature and mankind, and combining large format color film photography with Photoshop. Friend was visiting Portland for the first time for the weekend of May 6, 2023.

In-Person Artist Talk: Sat, May 6, 4 PM

This interview was recorded on May 4, 2023, half on a Zoom HN2, half on an iPhone 14 pro, and engineered by KBOO volunteer Ray Bodwell.



Robin Friend’s show “Bastard Countryside” collects together 15 years worth of exploration within the British landscape, dwelling on what (French novelist and author of “Les Miserables”) Victor Hugo called the ‘bastard countryside’: “somewhat ugly but bizarre, made up of two different natures.” Friend’s large-format color images scrutinize these in-between, unkempt, and often surreal marginal areas of the country, highlighting frictions between the pastoral sublime and the discarded, often polluted reality of the present. Starting from a classical landscape tradition, Friend’s meticulous 5x4 photographs are given heightened effect through exaggerations of color and composition, embodying friction between British pastoral ideals and present reality. In particular, Friend follows moments in which the expected narrative of the landscape is rudely interrupted through leakage, pollution, or the wreckage and containment of nature.



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Joseph Gallivan has been a reporter since 1990. He has covered music for the London Independent, Technology for the New York Post, and arts and culture for the Portland Tribune, where he is currently a Feature Writer. He is the author of two novels, "Oi, Ref!" and "England All Over" which are available on 

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