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I’ve been working on this body of work – Q&A, for a little more than four years now. I usually describe it as an investigation into the visual mores applied when photographing the U.S.A, and an inquiry into the relationship between a place and its own mythos. I’m really excited by the idea that for a significant proportion of people, ‘America’ exists visually as a somewhat abstract concept. The history of the last 60 years of popular culture is, with the odd deviation, the history of American popular culture. As a result, there is this enormous mess of visual tropes which all point to various notions of what the U.S.A. look like; flags, mountains, cars, guns, roads etc. This is at its most effective I think when you realise that this strange quirk of culture has the power to provoke a familiarity for a place without the need to have actually visited it. There is no doubt other places in the world that prompt a similar reaction but none in quite the same way or on the same scale as the visual motifs of America do.

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In 2015 I was asked to visit Dagestan for a book project I was working on. As an Asia specialist, the North Caucasus was a region I had never been to before and knew ever less about. Usually, I try to learn as much about a place as much as I can before I visit, through reading books, reports etc… but Dagestan had very little especially outside of Russian language websites. So my arrival at Makhachkala airport was really the beginning of my learning process. Fortunate to be connected to some wonderful local photographers for the next few weeks they showed me their Dagestan, the mountains they loved, the villages they lived and the culture that they adored. As a result, my photographs are really a visual personal discovery, a documentary that started at zero and slowly developed as I slowly learned and explored this new place. I learned about the people and their ways as I began to photograph them.

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The images in Based on a False Story are a wonderful mix of beautiful double-exposed portraits of old friends and new, juxtaposed landscapes, and tactile images of balanced geometric shapes and forms. The images draw in the viewer and evoke a sense of recalling past places and people affected by the passage of time. ‘False Story’ is Brydon’s second book published through Another Place Press this year, and rounds out a full year of marvelous publications from this small-but-mighty publisher.

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This collection of images comes from a series based around relationships, drawing from my own recent experiences. It’s a project where I’ve concentrated on trying to reflect the conflicting emotions through the aesthetic, through unusual combinations and contrasting shapes. I am a common topic for me, I make my work about what I’m thinking about, and at this point I’m thinking a lot about myself – it’s therapeutic, I suppose.

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I willingly misinterpret, follow alternative paths and pursue false leads.

I love reading outmoded and discredited scientific theories — or about unusual belief-systems and secret societies. They illustrate the role our imaginations play in shaping our apprehension of the world. I try to instigate such misunderstandings, bringing seemingly disparate ideas together into new configurations to give rise to other possibilities.

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This series of images are little windows into Havana, and capture just a drop of the spirit you feel from the city and it’s people. The energy there is intoxicating, you never know what is going to happen next. Cuba is so evocative, it is like being in the 1950’s, there is an extraordinary aesthetic there. The mix and the diversity of faces is very inspiring and a wonderful city to shoot in.

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In 2015, a flood of contaminated water used to fight a fire at Indiana’s Warsaw Chemical Company spilled into nearby Winona Lake. Carrying a flood of commercial car wash dyes, the spill washed downhill from the plant, melting the February ice at the lake’s surface and leaving limp silhouettes of bluegill floating in water stained a deep blue.

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This unnamed body of work was made when I was living my life or walking the streets and happen to have my camera and flash with me. The images I found were neither expected nor guaranteed. During warm months, my camera is on me 90% of the time – I’m never sure where the next image could come from and some of the most mundane subjects are my best images.

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