Legend draws direct comparisons between cartographic symbols - found in topographic maps - and the real-world landforms, features and points of interest they represent. What interests me is how the infinite complexities, variations, and meanings that are rooted in our environments are reproduced as a uniform and repeatable graphic language in maps. In order to decode the map’s information, symbols are generally presented with short statements (called a legend, or key) that explain their meaning. Without this system of denotation, the symbols become purely abstract.

In this series I remove any explanatory statements and replace them with photographs of actual places the symbols refer to. I am inviting the viewer to decode the meaning through use of a ‘photographic legend’ instead. It’s interesting to consider that the symbols and the photographs are essentially ‘pictures’ of the same thing. 

But this is not just a comparison between real-life landscapes and their abstract cartographic equivalents. This is an exploration of the notion of place in an ever more ‘placeless’ and commoditised global society - where the meanings and symbolic importance of place are being diminished, often replaced with standardised and inauthentic environments. 

Symbols reproduced from Geoscience Australia’s Symbol Dictionary for Topographic Map Production





















Using Format