Discoverer's Alliance is a whimsical series by paper artist Owen Gildersleeve and photographer Benedict Morgan. Disguised as a documentary, the duo provides a unique insight into the inner workings of one of the country's most accomplished but lesser known exploration societies, through a series of delightfully detailed dioramas created out of paper, food and household items. The fictional society, which exist only in the imagination of the two artists, is a supposedly 100-year-old society devoted to the exploration of the furthest depths of sea and space. Although little is known about the organization their work has led to some of the century's most important scientific discoveries. Discoverer's Alliance’s brave explorers have walked on unknown extraterrestrial worlds, collected rare minerals from the planet Venus and plunged to the depth of the mysterious ocean.
Owen and Benedict created a series of nine images that explore this society's offices and archives. Each image depicts a scene from this secret world created using paper, dried noodles, expanding foam and other household items. Each set took hours to create and photograph. The entire series took almost a year to complete.
The pair met whilst working together on a job for Esquire and struck up a friendship. During the shoot Benedict showed Owen some references he had gathered of a rocket launch and told him how he wanted to try to recreate it as a set. Over the following months more ideas emerged and they finally decided to tie everything up into a secret society. For inspiration they went on a few day trips to various museums around London, and learned about different wonderful crystals in the “Rocks & Minerals” section of the Natural History Museum. This new information became the basis for the “rock and minerals from Venus” shot which was the first image they made.
Owen Gildersleeve and Benedict Morgan’s Discoverer’s Alliance is currently on display at Downstairs at Mother in London from 4 June.
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