It must be hard to find a travel agent specialising in packages to Chernobyl. That’s precisely what Josephine Pugh was searching for when she planned her 2011 holiday. Pugh studied Film and the History of Art and Architecture right up to Masters level before a joint effort from her boyfriend (now fiancé) and her brother led the young artist to photography. She later discovered Urbex (for the unenlightened, that’s ‘urban exploration’), in which she found a talent for revealing beauty in abandoned and/or dilapidated sites through the lens of her Nikon DSLR – hence the trip to Chernobyl – and the results speak for themselves.
There is an eeriness to her work – even many of Pugh’s gorgeous nature shots might be described as beautifully bleak. The mood, in part, stems from a healthy admiration for great work, including the films of David Lynch. Whilst prowling around for the perfect shot, Pugh is careful not to disturb her surroundings. But her view of photography also takes into account the role of the artist as an element of the scene. As per the photograph itself: ‘For me that’s the wonder of photography: you take a photograph that stops a moment in its tracks, but then that photograph goes on to live a life of its own! What’s more wonderful than that?’ she poignantly reflects.
When she’s not freaking her family out with the threat of another ‘adventure’ into a location long abandoned by humankind, Josephine Pugh is often having her work exhibited in the UK, North and South America, Italy, Poland and the list goes on.