Sites of Special Scientific Interest

The Middle Kingdom, as vast a China and as little known

In the summer of 2013 I began photographing Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). SSSIs are areas dotted throughout the United Kingdom that are identified on the basis of being “the country’s very best wildlife and geological sites,” and so merit conservation management and legal protection.

The project was inspired by Bruno Latour’s essay We Have Never Been Modern in which he describes a split between nature and culture for people who hold a modern worldview, and the need for them to continually categorise things into one of these two realms. Though in practice things are often hybrids so the split creates a conceptual barrier, with destructive consequences, to acknowledging this state of affairs.

The project was conceived as an inquiry into a site’s invention and its actuality.