For years, surfer and photographer Jack Whitefield has been documenting his adventures around the world. Now he's sharing the highlights of a US road trip at London's Golborne Gallery.

Growing up in St Ives, Cornwall, Jack Whitefield realised that he saw the word a little differently to everyone else. But over time, through a mixture of and photography, he developed a way of life that felt like a natural fit.

Today he makes a living from pursuing his passion around the world, but has also learned to filter reality in his own particular way – honing in on everyday moments and then framing them with a subtle touch of poignancy.

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It’s the work of someone who knows how to seize the present moment while keeping their distance.

Terrain, the 26-year-old’s first solo show, draws from a week-long road trip from Los Angeles to East Arizona and back again.

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Shot with analogue film and printed using traditional techniques, the exhibition recreates the same environment Jack experienced while driving through small desert towns, eyeing the horizon like a scavenger, looking for moments where it looked like nature had relinquished control of the landscape.

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There are post-apocalyptic images of burning trash piles, off-grid trailer parks and curb stones cracking in the heat – all of it a marriage of nature and human detritus.

At the Golborne Gallery, the entire front section is covered in a desert image that appears solid from a distance but, like a mirage, dissolves into transparency up close. Then, simulating the total blackout of nightfall in the desert, the image gradually disappears altogether at dusk.

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Every picture has been hand-printed in Jack’s darkroom at home in Cornwall – a process so labour insensitive and carefully considered that it can’t help but impress itself on the work.

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Terrain runs at the Golborne Gallery in London until 16 March.

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