In her series, The New Colonists, Mexican-British photographer, Monica Alcazar-Duarte and winner of The Photographers’ Gallery’s Bar Tur Photobook Award, presents the uncanny suburban town of Mars in Pennsylvania, America. Steeped in midnight tones, her quotidian documentations of gas stations, football fields and fast food joints transport viewers to a time, place and feeling of all American life, but more importantly, human life. The work is imbued with a sense of western normality – whilst hinting to an otherworldly undertone beyond these images.
Since 1976, when the Viking 1 lander touched down on Mars and recorded the first photographic image of its surface, photography has played a key role in our exploration of the planet, and the other worlds of the Solar System. It is photography that has largely shaped and defined these distant globes in our imaginations, transforming them into real places that we might one day hope to visit or even go to live. Using this as a point of departure, The New Colonists uses photography to complete the circle, turning the camera back to view the inhabitants of Earth, just as we are beginning to prepare for an interplanetary journey.
Having won The Photographers’ Gallery's 2017 Bar Tur Photobook Award, the series has now been made into a new multimedia publication of the same name with the help of co-publishers The Photographers’ Gallery and Bemojake. The New Colonists will be releases at The Photographers’ Gallery on 24 November 2017. Priced at £30 it will be available to purchase from The Photographers’ Gallery, Bemojake and selected UK and international bookshops.
All images courtesy of The Photographers' Gallery. Main image: Sweety Pate Analogue astronaut for the Poland Mars. Analogue Mission from The New Colonists, 2017 © Monica Alcazar-Duarte. Courtesy The Photographers’ Gallery