Distracted Focus | Michael Shea

Distracted Focus is perhaps the finest example of Michael Shea’s delicate blending of documentary and art. This collection is formed of landscape photographs that have been taken around various parts of the United Kingdom, and that present us with the haunting, beautiful aspects of a post-millenarian, post-human world.

‘In Distracted Focus, Michael shows how the persistent and perennial beauty of nature – scudding clouds, creeping branches, metronomic tides, crowns of trees coaxed by liberal breezes – can render the extinct technologies of mankind pathetic and also oddly anonymous. A telescope on the South Downs could just as easily be in New England or overlooking the Pacific on the Gold Coast of Australia; a quiet English road is transformed into an abandoned desert highway; and an empty Sussex branch line could easily lead to Poland or somewhere in the Balkans. Geopolitical boundaries are rendered futile in these landscapes in which the quarrelsome progenitors of such distinctions have been made absent.’


James Wilson, in his eloquent introduction to the limited edition book  accompanying the exhibition Distracted Focus, captures the essence and the methodology of Michael Shea’s exquisitely beautiful and uniquely haunting work. His photographs will be on display at ECAD Gallery from 1 to 28 October. As well as the limited edition book  containing the complete series that comprises Distracted Focus, a selection of the photographs are for sale as individual framed prints and boxed sets.