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'In the end the red weed succumbed almost as quickly as it had spread. A cankering disease, due, it is believed, to the action of certain bacteria, presently seized upon it. Now by the action of natural selection, all terrestrial plants have acquired a resisting power against bacterial diseases-they never succumb without a severe struggle, but the red weed rotted like a thing already dead. The fronds became bleached, and then shrivelled and brittle. They broke off at the least touch, and the waters that had stimulated their early growth carried their last vestiges out to sea'.

The War Of The Worlds, H.G Wells

The Red Creeper, Porthtowan, Spring 2020 | C-Type Digital Print | POA |

H. G. Wells imagined an advanced but ailing alien race strugglingto survive on their cooling, drying planet. The Earth seemed the perfect place to colonise, rich with life and covered in plentiful water. My own longing to become immersed back in the sea during the COVID-19 pandemic become tainted with virus paranoia and invading eschatological ideas. When lockdown measures were relaxed, I took coastal walks amongst Gutweed (Ulva intestinalis). This common type of seaweed is found along the Cornish coast. I saw it’s beauty in a new light. I also felt its invading presence. I imagined it coloured red, not vibrant green. It took on a new contemporary relevance.

Beaches visited were: Porthtowan, Polurrian Cove, Coverack, Godrevy, Prussia Cove

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The Red Creeper, Porthtowan, Summer 2020 | C-Type Digital Print | POA |

All across the world the plastic pollution problem has become very visible. Hughes has travelled far and wide making work about this subject matter for over 25 years. Covid-19 has given him a new perspective in the subject of waste, viruses and the beach. Inspired by the H. G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds, Hughes has created a new series of photographs. Well’s imagined and advanced but ailing alien race struggling to survive on a cooling, drying planet, for the aliens, the Earth seemed the perfect place to colonise, rich with life and covered in plentiful water. Brought along with the aliens is a plant called the red creeper or the red weed, when exposed to water, it grows and reproduces flooding the countryside, clogging streams and rivers. Much like Covid-19, this virus has invaded lives and destroyed, economies and will through the increased production of single use throw away items of PPP also wreck a new havoc on the wider environment. 

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The Red Creeper, Porthtowan, Summer 2020 | C-Type Digital Print | POA |

The Red Creeper, Porthtowan, Summer 2020 | C-Type Digital Print | POA |

The Red Creeper, Porthtowan, Summer 2020 | C-Type Digital Print | POA |

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The Red Creeper, Porthtowan, Summer 2020 | C-Type Digital Print | POA |

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The Red Creeper, Porthtowan, Summer 2020 | C-Type Digital Print | POA |