A fractured life: Lottie Davies’ Quinn

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This article was printed in the Then & Now issue of British Journal of Photography magazine, available for purchase through the BJP Shop or delivered direct to you with an 1854 Subscription.

British landscapes stage this melancholic journey through isolation

Trauma can untether, disconnecting you from the world. It can make you wander aimlessly, looking for purpose, answers, and hope. This is the case for the fictional William Henry Quinn, as he walks the length of England, Scotland and Wales in post Second World War Britain.

Six years in the making, the story of Quinn is told through multiple mediums and locations, exhibiting later this year in galleries such as the Oxo Tower, London, and the Oriel Colwyn, North Wales. Now, the series has found a new platform in photobook format.

Photographer Lottie Davies and actor Samuel J Weir travelled across Britain, creating Quinn. With Weir becoming the titular character, Davies meditates on themes of loss, grief, and isolation, placing him against unrelenting natural landscapes. “Quinn’s specific story echoes and shadows the journeys we all take through life; privileged, conventional or cast adrift by conflict, economic and social circumstance, or simple bad fortune,” Davies explains.

“My intention for the book is that it is as close to a postable/portable exhibition experience as I can make in printed form. That is, reading it should be a tactile and immersive experience with multiple ways to approach it,” says Davies. The book continues Quinn’s journey, delving into his lonely world through excerpts such as a pull-out diary, to-do lists, landscapes, and portraits. “One could read the diary first, then look at the images, or watch the video pieces online. The book has been designed to allow a sense of discovery.” Quinn presents the remnants of a life to the reader, a puzzle not to be solved, but understood.

Isaac Huxtable

Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Photography in October 2020, where he is currently the Editorial Assistant. Prior to this, he studied a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.