The idea for the series Lunar Landscapes came about on an impromptu photo shoot at Dreamy Draw Park for the Super Moon full moon on 12/02/17. The series came together in my mind while waiting on the moon to crest the mountain – each month for each full moon, a different park, in Arizona. The goal was to photograph the landscape, to catch the full moon cresting the horizon, so I could do what I love to do: be outside at night shooting long exposures. But not just anywhere. Here, in Arizona, in the desert with the rocks and cacti.
In 2015 I shot HOT SUMMER NIGHTS, all long exposures at night of urban landscapes – all in Phoenix. In 2016 was Night Water, again, all long exposures at night, of the canal system here in the city – then in 2017 I only worked on Nightlight – a self-portrait project, shot indoors, again long exposures done at night, but indoors. I missed shooting at night outdoors enormously. I was so ready to get back outside again. I can’t quite put my finger on it, to say it’s beautiful here is an understatement, it’s quite striking. When I’m outside at night I’m not experiencing some kind of metaphysical out of body mind meld magic – maybe I am! ;) What I know for certain is that the combination of the light and the color and the heat feels magical. I so wanted to get back to doing what I had done before – long exposures at night, but this time in the desert. Away from the urban core and the artificial lights. And be among the cacti and the creosote bushes and the sage and the rocks – under the moonlight.
Each month I scout out a new location, typically a park, although one month I shot at a private residence. The time frame of the shoot is very narrow – it’s one night, once a month, within in a matter of minutes as the moon is rising. And then it’s over – until the next month. 12 months, 12 outings. Narrowly defined parameters is something I consciously imbue into each of my projects. Setting my own “rules” for each series builds pressure which helps me clearly and purposefully create. Precisely defined boundaries – where ambiguity is absent, is inherent I feel, not only in how I prefer to live, but in my photography itself. Even in the murky darkness of my work, there is little that is not clearly what it makes itself to be.
Bad Egg is a series of images I collected over the last few years through my repetitive visits to an old nitrogen fertilizers factory outside Ptolemaida, a town in Northern Greece.
Driving his car I still recall my father’s voice “Close the windows quickly!” as we were approaching the area with the disgusting odor. The reaction of ammonia with other chemical elements gives hydrogen sulphide the rotten-egg smell.
The plant finally closed in 1996. Back in 2011 I started to take my first images in the area. Everything was as the Bechers’ typologies described. But there was something more than that.
Decay was so obvious to my eyes as it was then to my nose during childhood. With dust and wild plant vegetation together it was as if they had absorbed all the bad smell and transformed it into inspirational images evoking a strong feeling of appropriation and tranquility.
The project Middle Ground/En Medio Tierra is comprised of American Southwest urban landscape photographs that were inspired by recent political changes in the United States. Although initially conceptualized as a political satire and parody of Donald Trump’s “bigly” wall on the United States’ southern border, this project developed to symbolically represent the greater political, economic, social, and cultural barriers people construct to separate themselves from others. The physical walls pictured reference psychological, conceptual, and systemic barriers people construct to dissociate from others — barriers that serve to prevent acceptance and impede interpersonal connection.
— Douglas Stockdale, Rancho Santa Margarita, California
This project, Lost in La Bassa, is about the lands where I was born and where I used to live when I was a little kid. When I moved to another town I used to come back here to visit my relatives but, with the passage of time the visits have become more sporadic. That’s why I decided to retrace these landscapes in order to recall lost memories from my childhood and see these lands with new eyes.
The project Streets Without Qualities is a photographic exploration of the residential area of Saione, a working-class neighborhood within the city of Arezzo, one of the main cities in Tuscany, Italy.
At the beginning of the 20th century, this region was dotted with Belle Époque three-story houses and rural homes. Starting from the end of the 1960s until the 1990s, Saione began to develop its current aspect: taller buildings grew up quickly, apparently following no urbanization plan and exploiting the real estate market bubble of the time.
A specific patchwork of façades and streets grew with no identifiable qualities or evidence of any historical moment. In Tuscany, these kinds of areas are often underrated in favor of a visual cliché that privileges Medieval and Renaissance architecture, thereby contributing to creating a distorted idea of a territory.
The Hole explores the destruction and abuse we place on our land for our own personal need and gain, represented visually by disused quarries. In time these forgotten locations, that are sparsely dotted around the country, slowly return to what they once were by virtue of man’s absence. Humans use and deprive the land at their convenience. When it comes at a disadvantage it’s forgotten about and the land is left to deal with the consequences. When the environment finally retakes what is there, it returns in different ways to what was once before. It’s a never-ending cycle of nature versus the human race — with, unfortunately, the latter coming out on top, indefinitely.
Ciudad Jardín Soto del Real at Buniel, Spain: Abandoned, Plundered & Trashed.
More than 1,400 apartments were planned for the development called Ciudad Jardin Soto del Real — on a hill next to the village of Buniel (about 500 inhabitants), about 15 kilometers west of Burgos, in Spain.
In 2008, when one of the largest Spanish construction companies had to file for bankruptcy, just 312 apartments were completed or partially completed. The Spanish property bubble burst.
The bankruptcy of this construction company was a catastrophe for the village as well as for the subcontractors and the buyers of the apartments. The construction work stopped. Many involved companies and buyers lost their money, went bankrupt or were pushed to the brink of ruin.
The apartments and houses were unattended in the following years and were plundered. Recently, the huge area with approximately 55 hectares became more and more of a dump.
This series, GSK, documents the visual space of garage building cooperatives (GSK – Garazhno-Stroitel’nyi Kooperativ) in the city of Moscow. GSK is considered to appear as a specific cultural artifact of the Soviet period and became widespread in the 1970s, when the notion of private property was unheard-of in the USSR.
These garages turned out to be the training ground of traits and qualities of a property owner, unknown and unnecessary in the USSR. They also allowed the first instances of social self-organization. According to some estimates, one-story garages will virtually disappear in Moscow in the near future.
While the answer to the question “Why do I take photos?” might look easy, the more I delve into my work I realize that I haven’t got any convincing answers to the question.
Why do I insist, come back and utilize some specific motif to develop compositions? Why do I choose low resolution? How is a trivial aspect of reality transformed into something more meaningful in the world of photography? Why do posters showing people and statues pull me closer to them so that I can set them up in a tender but at the same time upsetting manner? Is the picture itself that touches me or a vague remembrance thereof?
As if there is an internal resistance to hold back the answers for fear that decodification will push me into a conscious mechanism of production of identical pictures without any authenticity or soul.
A tormenting process, which I however enjoy, because, to the initial question “Why do I take photos?” – I can now give a more substantive answer: because I long for that surprise that I will feel when, once again, reality will reappear before my eyes transformed, different, mysterious and unpredictable.
The Memory of the Present is a photographic exploration of the Tuscan area of Italy, photographed in 2017 and 2018 in over 40 urban and suburban locations.
This ongoing project captures the most mundane and typical elements of landscape: countryside crossroads, vernacular architectures, river banks, memorial statues, ruins of ancient walls, postwar buildings infrastructure — things that could be seen in any Tuscan locality.
It’s also a work about collective memory and archetypes. The project focuses on the altered landscape, urban and rural in equal parts, trying to emerge to eyes and mind — the image of the everyday landscape that we tend unconsciously to suppress.