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Polytunnel: A Photo Essay by Marco Kesseler


Recently, the photographer Marco Kesseler was shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Awards for his series, ‘Polytunnel’. His ongoing project looks under the surface and examines the hidden landscape within the spaces our food is produced, looking at cyclical changes and the relationship between chaos and control in the natural environment.


In the polytunnel, the seasons are stretched and softened under the polythene skin and minute changes, which compound over time, transform the landscape as they develop creating its own cosmos. Layers of algae form over the weathered plastic, self seeded wildflowers establish themselves in the cracks of the structures and networks of animal nests are exposed as crops are changed. The work was produced at different stages throughout the annual cycle of planting, growing, harvesting and lying fallow; following both the passing of seasons as well as the changing relationship, where nature fights to establish itself within a cultivated plot.

A bit about the photographer…

My interest lies in the role of narrative, studying both fact and fiction, as a reference point in representing contemporary social stories. Navigating between editorial assignments and long-term projects I take pride in immersing myself within the place and culture that I photograph, working with communities over an extended period of time. Selected works have documented the socio-political effects of the Ukrainian revolution; living in hiding with Albanian families persecuted in the age old traditions of blood feuds, as well as celebratory traditions in Greece. Previous projects have been exhibited in The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, Paris Photo, Magenta Flash Forward, The Renaissance Photography Prize and New York Photo Festival and clients include The FT Weekend Magazine, The New York Times, TIME and The British Journal of Photography. Polytunnel has been shortlisted for The Sony World Photography Award 2019, which will be exhibited at Somerset House, London from 18 April – 6 May.



Words and Photography by Marco Kesseler