Clive Landen is a British wildlife photographer concerned with our relationship with animals. His pictures are quite explicit and upsetting to view, but he photographs horror with profound sensitivity and an almost painterly quality that makes us really look at the subject matter.
The Abyss series about the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak (only one photograph now available on line?). Landen began this project because restrictions meant that he couldn’t pursue his work on the relationship between the land and hunting. The impetus also came from childhood memories of the foot and mouth outbreak of 1967. Whilst the body of work is a pertinent historical document, it is also a personal one. Landen collaborated with the military and was seconded to a regiment, which allowed him free rein to access the sites where cattle were being burned and buried. He describes a photograph of one dead sheep amongst many as a “portrait of the sheep which looks benign, at peace.” (Landen (2007) in Source no. 51.) His landscape containing a row of dead dairy cows and skeletons of trees is one of the most moving of the series. The pall of smoke that clung to these sites is visible, providing an almost painterly, pictorialist quality.