Tanya Houghton (Born.1985, mixed migrant background) is an interdisciplinary photographer and artist based in London. A member of the Urban Photographers Association, her work has been recognized and awarded by The British Journal of Photography, The D&AD, Organ Vida festival, Photo London, and La Fabrica amongst others. Her work has been exhibited at galleries and festivals globally and has recently been shortlisted for the La Fabrica x Photo London Dummy Award. Having completed her B.A. at the London University of Arts and M.A in Photography and Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths University, her combined background of sociology and photography enables her to work and collaborate on a range of projects; editorial, commercial, exhibition and curatorial, working with other artists, writers and academics, to further her practice.
With a strong emphasis on the image as an object, Houghton’s current practice focuses on themes of ecology, centered around the landscape and memory. Through this she explores the tension between the Urban (man) and the Rural (nature), collecting stories from the landscape, preserving them and re-telling them for future generations.
Songlines of the HERE+NOW
Songlines; Ancient Aboriginal maps passed on through song, story or dance. When sung, these songs describe landmarks lining the route of a journey and allow the traveller to navigate their way across vast distances of the Australian landscape. In doing so, these travelers keep the sacred land alive.
Houghton’s practice focuses on the connection between humans and the landscape, comparisons between the past and present. Immersed in the spaces she works, Houghton gathers stories formed in the landscape and in return retranslates the stories that those landscapes reveal about us.
Inspired by the mythology surrounding Aboriginal Songlines, Houghton went walkabout, alone, across Australia to explore the deep-rooted connection between the country’s inhabitants form to the landscape they call home. Covering a total of 10,500 km, she collected scattered stories and imprinted memories strewn over the landscape, gaining a deeper understanding of the country’s past, and of the Indigenous’ sacred connection to the land that has been their home for thousands of years.
Giving no weight to any one person, physical representations of individuals encountered were removed, and stories shared are represented through the landscape in which they were created. Houghton takes into account two conflicting devotions to the landscape; that of the Indigenous and of contemporary commercialization of space through land tourism. Despite the tenuous past of the nation, there is a shared love of the land, both past and present. It is this parallel that Houghton aims to highlight within the work.
Songlines of the Here+Now is a homage to the Indigenous peoples of Australia, a record of a journey, a collection of landscapes and still-lifes, stories and natural interventions that explore human experience through listening to the language of the Australian landscape.
To view more of Tanya Houghton’s work please visit her website.