Bastard Countryside collects together 15 years worth of exploration within the British landscape, dwelling on what Victor Hugo called the ‘bastard countryside’: “somewhat ugly but bizarre, made up of two different natures”. Friend’s large-format colour images scrutinise these inbetween, unkempt, and often surreal marginal areas of the country, highlighting frictions between the pastoral sublime and the discarded, often polluted reality of the present. Starting from a classical landscape tradition, Friend’s meticulous 5x4 photographs are given heightened effect through exaggerations of colour and composition.
Friend's book is quarter-bound with lush green and rusty orange papers, referencing the dichotomy of industrial and natural colours in his work. On the cover, the geometrically exaggerated font Restructional Text by OPS Type lends an exaggerated but humanistic quality to Friend's bold title. At the back, Robert Macfarlane's essay appears as if ripped out of another book, with its own separate paper and type treatment.