Cato Salter

Creative Outlet for
Digital Art & Photography

Based in Longyearbyen, Svalbard.


Piramida (ongoing)

About Piramida

This is the first part of my photography project investigating what remains from the remote Soviet Arctic mining community of Piramida, officially closed in 1998.

A small selection of works is included in this website preview and the project is ongoing - i.e. not yet ready or finished. It still has a lot of missing pieces. In sum, this first part of Piramida offers a fleeting glimpse into the life and dreams inherent in this small mining community.

Literally frozen, both in time and place, this discordant wonder world offers mystery, puzzlement and majesty. With deafening silence and overpowering stillness, gently lit by one of the world's most spectacular remaining glaciers, this place resembles a time capsule, a truly remote and hidden treasure of time.

At some point in time, the inhabitants of Piramida must have constituted an oddly privileged group of people. The careful design and attention to detail put into decorating its facilities, is testament to this. No collection of structures standing on the face of the earth today could be more reminiscent of dreams lost. Seriously.

I myself, am a dreamer. And a romantic. A dangerous combination. In that sense, these photographs are introspective to me and you see what I saw and decided to present.

Now, let this place remind and inspire you while there is still life, of lost ideals and how one group of people's shared visions for a better future once had the power to fuel its efforts to build one.


Polar Nights (ongoing)

About Polar Nights

The photographs shown constitute a small selection from the complete works. This project is dedicated to the beauty and stillness of the polar night. Started during the dark season of 2020-21, my objective is to be suggestive of the light still around us in this time of darkness. The project is ongoing - i.e. not yet finished.

You might already know that photography literally means painting with light. Through a combination of negative space, artificial lighting and pockets of stillness, I’ve made an effort to capture some poetic and telling moments.

Individually, these moments depict the mundane and what lies seemingly dormant. When put together, I hope you’ll appreciate a different story emerging.

While the dense blackness of the polar night might feel overwhelming - and for some a heavy burden to carry with reluctance - my simple intention is to introduce a possibility there’s another way of looking at it.

It’s an honest and straightforward invitation, but do not take it lightly. Rather, consider each moment and the opportunity they present, carefully. If you look close enough, you’ll discover a reason to dig deeper.

There’s plenty of light to be discovered in the polar night when you look for it. Whether to look or not, is up to you.


Singles (Ongoing series)

About Singles

Singles is an ongoing photography project constituting individual photographs that retrospectively contemplates my struggle to discover subject matter, point of view and style of visual expression. To me, they underline the complexity of developing photographic voice.

I don't believe in rules, norms or forced perspectives (pun intended). I believe photography is about exploration. It is normative in that is should be open, without limits and restraints. We all carry within ourselves the potential for wonder and confusion, and whatever meaning you take from my work is yours, and yours alone.

Seemingly unrelated, they represent different stages of my journey, and the viewer might recognise influences or sources of inspiration. To be honest, I am first and foremost drawn to complexity and that which eludes interpretation.

We all bring our own stories, experience and mindset to the table as we disseminate photographs. With this in mind, I think it is poignant to make attempts to obfuscate interpretation.

Throughout my journey, I've been confused and touched by many fields of photography. I would guess this is so for most of us. For now, I am most drawn to storytelling and somewhat artistic documentary photography, with the occasional attempt at offering bewilderment.

There can be little doubt that doing photography projects is more rewarding than simply focusing on single images. To this effect, I hope my ongoing Singles collection can be testament to this.

Singles is here to keep me on my toes. They make me vulnerable. It is my playground, stark reminder, "crazy wall" and free space to explore new topics. My Singles are failures.



About my Pixel Pieces

In the end, what you see here is just pixels. Any meaning you contrive from what you see, is your doing and not mine.

In these works, I'm experimenting with defragmenting some of my other works, by creating a digital counterpart to one particular work in a project from varying illuminations and sizes of the other works in the same project. This way, each digital work should be a more complete and meaningful representation of each piece and the project as a whole.

You see my original photographic work, but it is not really there. Working with digital mosaics to represent an original photograph challenges the notion of where meaning resides and how it is constructed. As you look closer into any work, you come to realise your experience takes on a different form and meaning, to the point where all that is left is your thoughts alone.

Modern technology and artificial intelligence allows for more complex digital work. It is what has aided me in creating these works. Otherwise, they would have been near impossible to present.

With the constant interruption of smartphones, easily digestible and attention grabbing news headlines and the relentless consumption of visual stimuli on social media, we become more impatient and less attune to spending time with opportunities for thought, emotional attachment, introspection and consideration of the world around us.

Are we becoming collectors of tidbits and fleeting glimpses, simply chasing the next cycle in the pattern of impotent stimulus? I think so.

As humans, communal and interpretive beings, our potential loss of the ability for prolonged attention is set to change how we look upon the world around us. So, I want to challenge your impulse to simply browse and move on to the next item, and rather encourage or even force you to stop for a moment and consider what you see.

Are these photographs? Where is the original work? What makes something meaningful to you? What happens at the intersection of the physical medium and its digital representation? Do you experience attentive disfunction or emotional detachment?

These are questions I invite you to consider when viewing these works. I didn't create them because I have an answer to these questions. I did so because you do. In that sense, art is democratic.

By exploring the way our vision and mind constructs meaning, and consider how we all process visual stimuli, I invite you to reconstruct my deconstruction, move in and out, change perspectives and viewing distance, and fill in the blanks to create your own interpretation.

You are very much the creator of context and meaning. What will result when you forego this ability to connect with the world around you?