The Plain continues Friend’s investigation of everyday militarisation, revealing how war is embedded in this most English of landscapes.
From the mid-1980s Melanie Friend worked as a freelance photojournalist, producing photographs for magazines, newspapers, the anti-nuclear movement and other campaigns. She became a member of Format Photographers in 1986, and of Panos Pictures in 1991. In the early 1990s she combined her photography with print journalism (freelance articles for The Guardian and The Times Educational Supplement among others) and freelance radio reporting (features for BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service).
Earlier works include the international touring exhibitions Homes & Gardens: Documenting the Invisible (1996), and Border Country (2007), each with accompanying publications, and her book No Place Like Home: Echoes from Kosovo (Midnight Editions, USA, 2001). The Home Front (2013), originally curated by Pippa Oldfield of Impressions Gallery, reflected on the staging of war as entertainment at air shows, and toured internationally.
By The Way
Sowiesoso is the fourth full-length album by German electronic music outfit Cluster, released in 1976. It was Cluster’s first release for Krautrock label Sky Records, a relationship which would last until 1986 including albums with Brian Eno.
The chalk grasslands of Salisbury Plain have been used since 1897 as a preparation ground for war. The heart of this ancient English landscape is an eerie and ambiguous space. The Plain is both the UK’s largest military training ground and also a conservation area shared with archaeologists and dogwalkers, larks and corn buntings, wildflowers and rare forms of wildlife.
Melanie Friend’s photographs reveal the military presence as a disquieting feature on the horizon: a rusty tank positioned as a target, a red box used for field telephones in a copse, smoke from an exploding shell.