Into The Woods Installation Shots, Ellie Davies

I recently discovered the work of photographer Ellie Davies, whose work has opened up a new perspective on how the forest setting could be used to great effect within the moving images.

Her approach is very immersive and involves spending time getting to know and feel the forest before starting work on an image. Talking about her process, she says ‘each series will start with walking, sketching and note-making. Walking allows me to familiarise myself with different areas of the forest and select places that suit each image I am hoping to create. I carry a lightweight kit and I usually sit for a while to get used to the space before starting work, listening to the birds and seeing how it feels to be there. You start to hear the leaves falling and the trees creaking’ (Bradbury, 2016).

She then spends hours hand making or painting props and attaching them to the trees, before capturing the perfect image. The resulting shots challenge the viewer to ‘consider mankind’s relationship with nature and to explore our cultural perceptions of forests in popular culture, folklore, literature or film’ (Bradbury, 2016).

Fig. 1. ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ 2010


Fig. 2. ‘Stars’ 2014-2015


Fig. 3. ‘Come With Me’ 2011


Fig. 4. ‘Between the Trees’ 2014

The magic within her work is in ‘her knack of turning reality into a dream-like vision that verges on hyper-reality’ (Bradbury, 2016).

In some of her projects she introduces elements into the scene, such as clouds of smoke, painted trees, fern pathways, or even galaxies of stars, superimposed over forests. There are no people or animals in her photographs. The landscape itself is the character.

In her artist statement, she explains how her work ‘explores the ways in which identity is formed by the landscapes we live and grow up in’ (Davies, n/d) and that the landscape images she creates ‘are a reflection of my personal relationship with the forest, a meditation on universal themes relating to the psyche and call into question the concept of landscape as a social and cultural construct. Most importantly they draw the viewer into the forest space, asking them to consider how their own identity is shaped by the landscapes they live in’ (Davies, n/d).

Like Davies, I too am interested in identity and how it is formed by the environment in which we live and grow. I like the way in which she creates images that are reflections of her personal relationship with the landscape. I also like the way she describes her work as ‘a meditation’ on universal themes. In some way, I would like to create moving images that do the same: that reflect my interest in identity and place; that are reflections of my personal relationship with specific places; that are meditations on universal themes.



Bradbury, N. 2016 ‘Ellie Davies’ In: Sodium Burn [website] At:

Davies, E. ‘Statement’ At:

‘Stars’. In: Lens Culture [website] At:


List of illustrations

Figure 1. ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ 2010

Figure 2. ‘Stars’ 2014-2015

Figure 3. ‘Come With Me’ 2011

Figure 4. ‘Between the Trees’ 2014