After living in China for almost a year I moved to the United States in 2012 and was amazed to see a country that was absolutely different from what I had envisioned. As a foreigner who had just come here I mainly knew this country from movies – and that was a country of wealth, happiness, skyscrapers and success. I realized however that it was just an image Hollywood wants us to see. America itself became a sort of myth to everyone in the outside world.
What I saw in reality was absolutely different from that established image. If you dive deeper into the country you’ll find countless places that are authentic in their pureness. They are the soul of the country and enable one to look into its heart. I set out on a journey through the states to find this kind of places. I wanted to see its roots and its real unmodified face.
My goal is to demystify the picture Hollywood created. In a surreal way I’m documenting America as it is – vast and giant, strange and weird, forgotten and lonely. My goal is to strip it down, making it naked to our eyes, thoughts and minds.
— Pavel Tereshkovets, San Francisco
A buffer zone in Cyprus was first established in 1964. The UN sent peace keepers to prevent a recurrence of fighting, following intercommunal violence between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots that had flared up in December 1963.
After a Greek Cypriot coup d’état and a Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the United Nations Security Council extended and expanded the mission, and a 180 km long (and up to 7.4 km wide) demilitarized and depopulated Buffer Zone was established: this “Green Line” de facto splits the island in two.
The UN mission in Cyprus, UNFICYP, — keeping peace, patrolling the buffer zone etc. — is the UN’s cheapest and costs some EUR 50 million a year.
This “Green Line” cuts right through the centre of the old town of Nicosia. In some parts, it is only one street (3.3 meters) wide. Outside of the capital, there are several deserted villages in the buffer zone. Nicosia’s international airport also lies in the Buffer Zone: its brand new terminal was opened in 1968, but since 1974 it has only been used by pigeons.
— Jan Banning, Utrecht, Netherlands
My photography tries to render the inner relationship I establish with the places I’m in. I like to think of it as biographical, as my interest is not just for the place itself but mainly for the way it affects me, urging me to press the shutter button.
My main body of work is a never-ending ongoing series from which other works branch off as I recognize a developing theme that I wish to investigate further.
— Andrea Lombardo, Genoa, Italy
We are at a critical juncture in our history. Never before have we been so disconnected from the symbiotic relationship that we need to have with our home, the earth. Our cavalier attitude toward the planet’s well being now brings into question the ability for humans to survive here.
Dominion explores the hubris of humanity in relation to the natural world. This series of photographs looks at how power and our collective ego undermine morality and the innate memory that we all have as to how things were — and how they should be.
— Joaquin Palting, Los Angeles
My current work involves the use of a drone-based camera to depict familiar structures and landscapes from a fresh or unusual perspective. Although many drone photos are taken at an angle, I prefer the direct down shot. I am particularly interested in built environments which are usually populated but not occupied when photographed. I like the way that the abstract structures complicate and interact with our sense of the absence of human beings. I have photographed quarries, livestock fields, junkyards, and other subjects, but I am especially drawn to play spaces, from tennis courts and playgrounds to swimming pools and amusement parks. Consumer drones have a limited carrying capacity, and getting an acceptable quality image with a GoPro camera can be a challenge. I replaced the original fisheye lens with a more rectilinear lens, and most images are stitched from a number of captures.
— Bob Gates, Jamesville, New York, USA
It was two years ago when under some special conditions I found myself driving everyday in the countryside of Crete carrying – as always – a camera with me, but shooting nothing the first week as I could not find ‘something interesting’ (aka human characters). After the first ‘shock’ I gradually started to shoot some landscapes and later, looking at the images at my computer’s screen, I discovered some common forms in them. Taking photos without people in them is not what defines my work – I would say it’s the other way around. So I was kind of surprised to have a set of images without any human presence in them.
— Haris Panagiotakopoulos, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
My work documents the memories and histories that are set in the landscapes that surround us.
My most recent work, The Last Stand, was researched and photographed over a four-year period. It looks at some of the remaining Second World War military coastal defences around the coastlines of Northern Europe, from Norway to the Franco-Spanish border and The Northern Isles of the UK.
— Marc Wilson, Bath, England
Sydney is defined by its suburban sprawl, and the series, Suburbex, captures the essence of exploration beyond the urban centre. I was born and raised in this endless patchwork of of homogenised residences, gritty industrial estates and soulless commercial centres. Growing up in this environment enabled me to appreciate the hidden beauty in what, at a superficial glance, might otherwise appear bleak and monotonous. Suburbex employs bold colours, shapes and contrasts in order to reveal the beauty in the bleak banality of Sydney’s endless suburbs.
— Michael Garbutt, Sydney, Australia
In any given landscape there are moments which tell a story about a place and the people that dwell there. In a metropolis or a ghost town these moments of loneliness and abandonment can be looked over or forgotten. It is in these spaces that there is an opportunity to see and understand the world in a different way. By exploring, collecting and photographing the world as an archaeologist or detective gives intensity to the seemingly banal and ordinary.
By pairing photographs of these deserted and abandoned environments with found personal items it provides fertile ground for narratives to emerge. The items collected are items one might find in a family album or desk drawer and provides a strong connection to the missing figure.
The types of spaces that are captured range greatly from the haunted skeletal frame of a failed dream house to a forgotten city by a manmade sea that has a vibrant past. The ghostly representation of the locations exposes moments of quietness, sadness, and abandonment.
— Julie Gautier-Downes, Spokane, Washington, USA
Growing up in Los Angeles 50 years ago left impressions on me that have lasted a lifetime. My current series of work draws on early experiences and tries to elaborate and refine them in a way that draws on the strengths of photography.
Many years ago I used a large format camera and learned with Ansel at my side (his books) and became very much in tune with the careful, contemplative approach the equipment and medium required. I have to admit I had qualities that resonated with the large format camera and they became more distinctive and refined over time. After 30 years away from the camera I have resumed working with renewed passion.
I hope you get a sense of what excites and is important to me through my work. Generally I seem to be attracted to complex things and the challenge of finding the right degree of order within the frame.
— Steve McCausland, Long Beach, California, USA
The ongoing project, The Region, investigates and documents the development of Northwest Indiana; a conglomerate of cities that form part of the Chicago metropolitan area, the Calumet Region, as it is commonly called — or “the Region” for short — is home to around one million people. But more notably it is a place where nature and humanity take a backseat to manufacturing environment created for our creations.
I choose the night atmosphere with an absence of human life as a means of drawing attention to the infrastructure that characterizes the landscape of the region. Power lines cut through nearly every image, and telephone poles and factory smokestacks outnumber the few scattered trees. The scale has grown beyond that of the domestic as power plants and highway overpasses tower over playgrounds and single-family homes. It is as if the real act of living had become an after-thought to the operations that facilitate our way of life.
With factories situated beside marinas and baseball fields, the implements of industry seem to be out of place, and in some of the photos, one gets the sense we are seeking to protect ourselves from our own creations: fences and barriers punctuate most of these settings and an eerie, perpetual light bathes everything, leaving no dark corners.
— James Rotz, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
The project Spazio Sazio (Saturated Space) stems from the idea that everyday places have a lot to say, and that their features constitute a delicate, sentimental geography. Colors become geometry and support the structure of memory. I often wander around, taking pictures, and I’m fascinated by the links that are established between different locations, connected by recurrent patterns: lines, curves and tones (dis)harmony make them universal, despite retaininig their amazing uniqueness. Fragments reveal, potentially, all the stories of the world, regardless of time and space.
— Stefano Compagnucci, Rome, Italy
My work is concerned mainly with places, objects, and the way these interact. In particular I am interested in the apparent dialogue between the elements of human-altered environments. Although my work contains few representations of the human form, I believe people constitute a major element of my images through the way in which they alter their environment and create idiosyncrasies.
My current project examines the Lee Valley, near my home in northeast London. It aims to depict places in which nature and the human-made environment co-exit in an area which, while only a few miles from central London, has an air of abandonment, mystery, and occasional menace.
— Gareth Walsh, London
The images in this collection, Numinous Landscapes, were all made while traveling from Paris to Lake Como by rail, a mode of transport that offers the traveler a fleeting window on the world.
As I enter into the cadence of a rail journey, it reveals itself in numinous landscapes that transcend ordinary space and time. I become mesmerized by scenes that pass by like the animated flickering of an old movie background. Though I am the one “rushing by,” it seems that I am sitting still, beholding a tableau of light and landscape that is magical in its impermanence, never to be seen the same way again.
I feel connected to these scenes—their strength in nature and how they overshadow the fragility of human endeavor or accomplishment. There’s a social and historic chiaroscuro effect that takes place as I am transported through scene after scene.
The word “landscape” originates from the Dutch word meaning “landship.” For me, a train is the mode of conveyance—the landship—that illuminates the truth of landscape in all of its complexity and flux.
— Greg Caldwell, Seattle, Washington, USA
Trees and Concrete is an ongoing body of work that reveals the unexpected landscape of Brooklyn, New York. Ambiguous and interchangeable, these spaces came to consciousness only through the process of leaving, traveling and intermittently returning to my place of birth. Deceptively still and lush landscapes emerged amidst spaces of unavoidable human presence. These areas, tucked between buildings, along cross-streets and the outskirts of the borough appear, redefining the distinct landscape of my former home.
I was born and raised in a distinguishable urban setting, which to the eyes of any outsider can hold visual symbolism and impressions that differed from my own experience. Yet I was no different, as my ideas of anywhere beyond the radius of my home made me an outsider as soon as I crossed those boundaries. During my times away, I found myself traveling on the road for extended durations, engaging with what initially felt like foreign landscapes. As these journeys prolonged, my homecomings slowly became informed by the new places I had been. Walking the streets of Brooklyn was no longer filled solely with the memories of my childhood, rather blended with visual impressions from all the places I had been during my absence. For me, a new landscape emerged.
— Tracy Fish, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA