A handwritten note neatly folded and hidden in the crevice of a rock, crosses etched onto stone, ribbon carefully wrapped around piles of twigs. These are all religious offerings, known as ‘Ex-Votos’ and found at Christian pilgrimage sites worldwide. Often placed anonymously and hidden from view, pilgrims leave ex-votos as expressions of hope and gratitude, creating a tangible narrative between faith, person and the landscape. Taken in Lourdes (France), Ballyvourney (Ireland) and Grabarka (Poland), the project encompasses formal portraiture, large format landscape and small, detailed still-lifes of the objects and markers left behind. Shot on 5×4, large format film, the images evoke a distinct stillness and reflect the mysterious, timeless quality present at these sites of great devotion.
Alys Tomlinson Born 1975, Brighton, UK Lives and works in London, UK Alys Tomlinson studied English Literature and Communications at the University of Leeds and photography at Central Saint Martins. She later completed an MA (Distinction) in Anthropology at SOAS, University of London. Alys is most interested in the relationship between people and place, exploring themes of environment, belonging and identity. Her work has been included in over twenty international exhibitions, most recently at Somerset House and the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival. She was named Sony World Photographer of the Year 2018 for her series Ex-Voto and the work was published by GOST Books in 2019. In 2019, she received the Public Prize in the Louis Roederer Discovery Award, Rencontres d’Arles, for her exhibition ‘The Faithful.’