Arts Thread

Isabelle Young
Photography MA

Royal College of Art

Specialisms: Photography / Creative Writing /

Location: London, United Kingdom

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Isabelle Young

Isabelle Young ArtsThread Profile

First Name: Isabelle

Last Name: Young

Specialisms: Photography / Creative Writing


My Location: London, United Kingdom

University / College: Royal College of Art

Course / Program Title: Photography MA


Sight and the novel are central to my work. As a photographer, I see the way I do because of the poet Philip Larkin’s observation that ‘sun destroys / The interest of what’s happening in the shade’. My perspective is informed by certain literary narratives which actively play with time and point of view, and in turn shape the stories I tell and the photographs I take. My work focuses on details which say much more than wide shots. The framing and compositions do not speak of the whole but bow down before quieter moments. I often think of my work alongside the unreliable literary narrator who is also God within the world she has created. My photographs, akin to the narrator, may appear to be all knowing but they are evidently not all telling. “In Camera”, my first solo exhibition, was recently on view at Fabian Lang Gallery, Zurich, June-July 2022. This month, a new series about architecture and sexuality will be included in the exhibition After The Waiting Room, Copeland Gallery, London, 15-19 August 2022.

The Sea Rising, 2017-2022 explores the ongoing endeavour to shape, control and preserve the Venetian Lagoon, Italy. I spent the Autumn term of my MA in Photography living, working and studying online in Venice to create this series which was exhibited for the first time at the RCA2022 Degree Show Exhibition. The entire lagoon’s existence has always been precarious but the water is now higher than it has even been. Although this series began with the historic murazzi walls which extend from Sottomarina along the entire lagoon coast, The Sea Rising is not about a fading past. With the €5.4 billion Project MOSE finally near completion, Venice can be seen as a microcosm of how many cities will need to approach flooding in the not so distant future. The landscape surrounding the lagoon city notably lies between earth and sea, where sky and water meet. At some point the stone flood walls were sufficient protection from the rising Adriatic, then they were not as the water continued to rise, and so the story continues with no end in sight. Project MOSE is already out of date as climate change has accelerated since it was first designed over 20 years ago and no Venetians are comforted by its presence. An overriding feeling prevails of a battle being fought against something which we will ultimately always lose. The exhibition works are accompanied by a printed, autobiographical text Until it holds, 2021 published on occasion of RCA2022.