Born in London, Arthur studied mathematics at Oxford University and photojournalism at the London College of Printing. After moving to Delhi in 2003 she worked as a freelance photographer in India for two-and-a-half years. There, she developed an interest in photographing women and their relationship to the societies in which they live.
This image, a pressing of a wildflower, is from a 2019 trip to the US-Mexico border wall, along with 15 colleagues from Magnum Photos. There, Arthur focused on the area around Otay mountain in San Diego county, which is home to a number of rare plant species.
“Otay Mountain becomes the border itself at a certain point, when it is considered steep and tough enough to be difficult to cross,” Arthur wrote of the visit. “It is also a designated wilderness area on the US side because of the number of rare plant species found there, and at the base of the mountain is a scattered community which has grown from an original pioneer town. I am working to bring these different points of view together by photographing, with samples of wild flowers I pressed, and also with extracts from the work of a photographer from the early 20th century, Hazel Scheckler, whose archive I found in the attic of a woman I met in Dulzura [a community close to Otay Mountain].”