Anna Lilleengen

anna lilleengen

Anna Lilleengen is a Yorkshire raised and based fine art photographer who works with vintage cameras and analogue processes. Returning each year to wilderness forests in Scandinavia where she has family roots,  Anna turns her attention to subtle shifts and nuances in the natural light, often as reflected in water or held in the humidity of dusk. These, more than specific landscape anchor points, become the subject of her images.

Focussing on internal states that colour the view of the landscape, Anna takes up a theme of transformation, as visualised through layered and progressing images.

Working on a level of affect, Anna’s images appeal via the viewer’s senses to their feeling and intuitive faculties. That is: by the physicality of viscerally experiencing the image(s), the viewer is prompted to feel with a less frequently experienced subconscious part of themselves: the part of you that dreams, that makes leaps of faith and that can combine previously paradoxical seeming points of view into a new whole. This is a self for whom time is not linear and that is easily able imagine resolutions and transformations that the rational mind alone cannot.

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Her three Metamorphoses series (from 2013, 2016 and 2021) – all made on colour medium format film – use this gentle process to encourage the viewer to step beyond the familiar and to open to experiencing unexplored territories within themselves. These untouched wildernesses call to our desire to experience the Sublime in our natures: a mixture of light and dark, of the terrifying and the uplifting, a sense of being small and humbled next to the enormity of wild nature and cycles of time, much larger than those we perceive.

To dare to formulate new meaning and fresh constellations out of tired old matter.

By using a physical process of repeating and layering images on film, Anna is able to move further away from the literal and into a purer abstracted realm, creating depth, texture and a painterly presentation of almost otherworldly images.

Familiar reference points recede and navigation becomes relative and relational, as firm footing on solid ground (or, as here, floating peat bog) gives way to swirling cloud, water and etherscapes, all deep in the twilight Nordic forest.

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Anna has held over 20 exhibitions both in the UK and in Scandinavia since gaining a distinction in her MA at Harrogate College in 2012. A winner of the Vantage Art Prize, she has also received Arts Council funding via Sunny Bank Mills to produce the first Metamorphosis series in 2014. Also from Leeds Council for her Mythical Rothwell project in 2015.

She has collaborated with Sheffield Hallam and York St John universities on research based work and conferences (2016, 2018, 2021). In 2020, she exhibited at the Force of Nature show at the Mercer Art Gallery in Harrogate, next to JMW Turner’s images from his seventeenth and eighteenth century tours of the North.