Photographer Catherine Hyland has been travelling the mountainous landscapes of China and Mongolia to capture its vast, yet eerily empty tourist destinations. In her ongoing series Universal Experience, which she will continue to add to, she explores scenes of epic beauty that have been developed to become tourist destinations. Tackling themes of nostalgia and abandonment, she hopes to capture the intertwining of natural beauty and the artificially engineered viewpoints from which people choose to remember it by.
“The aim is to shine a light on both the strange and sublime nature of these spaces,” Catherine says. “Giant Buddhas that exist in small desolate villages in rural China, and expansive mountainscapes with barely any visitors. Whether it’s sites of historical importance or natural splendour each is approached with a heightened awareness of its significance as a place of beauty and grandeur. Landscape is seen primarily as a cultural construct and only secondarily as a natural phenomenon.”
Catherine’s large-format photographs, shot on film, show the awesome landscapes together with their barren tourist-targeting additions, contrasting the natural and man-made elements. The dusty mountainous shots are particularly striking, with their gradated colours and uniformly dusty tones.