There is a mostly hidden and often disregarded universe within our space of life: the province. The province is borderless: it has no real beginning and no well-defined ending, except at the edges of urban zones, which are like islands, like galaxies in an wide and secluded area. Province is an interspace which is connected worldwide with itself.
I am searching for my “objets trouvés” in the nameless countryside, in the extensive absence, in the aside, in the silent realms, where everything seems conventional and unspectacular. I am searching for the similar and the singular there, and even in the biggest tristesse I can find the beauty of melancholia or some rests of lost times, which are spending a strange and lovely form of idyllic shelter.
Furthermore I want to find out what is the character of province, what is special there, what is common, what is the atmospheric fingerprint of an area that I walk or drive through.
For me the province is a room of lost time and no-time, there is only past and a small quantum of presence, but not the illusion of future, which is forming the awareness of life in our cities.
So the main location of my work is the province, the backwoods, the outside. And one of my favorite photographic series is called Universum Provinz. It is a never-ending series, because universe is infinite.
— Hans Hansmann, Leipzig, Germany
Phoenix is intense and harsh under the daylight sun, yet magical and beautiful at night when color is sultry and saturated – it’s palatable. A time when color reveals itself as tangible. I want to capture this heady mix within the urban landscape. Deliberately devoid of humans, my photography centers on architecture, streetscapes, city vistas – the lesser seen and the unseen within a human built framework.
Night Water is my third series exploring Phoenix at night — focused solely on the nine canal systems. Scenes here are from portions of two of the nine.
I am motivated by not knowing what I will find — yet knowing I will find something. Something beautiful, intriguing and worthwhile. It’s within this process; seeking, seeing, capturing — this is where I am most at home, this is where I want to be — here in the desert, at night.
— Catherine Slye, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
I picture every day.
I have no program with any dictation… inside… outside… everywhere. I do not get into molds and orders. I shoot whatever appears in my eyes and stimulates my soul…
Many of my photos are the same and thus acquire a coherent grouping… almost always without people… only their traces… empty landscapes… but are they so ”empty” therefore?
I shoot statues, hangers, trees, washing lines, stairs.
I want my photos to stand alone, without the previous or the next photo, without titles or a supporting text… just to speak to the viewer without the need of any of these… without being warned, without limits and signs… just my photo and the viewer… and if I manage to make my photo and the viewer talk… then all the pleasure is mine.
— Manolis Karatarakis, Rethimno, Crete, Greece
Fault Line is a project I am doing in the small coastal town of Brooklin, Maine. The protagonist is my younger cousin Adam, who lives there. I also photograph my brother, father, and other cousins. I chose the title because a fault line alludes to where the earth splits in an earthquake (a metaphor for a divided family with a complicated history) and also alludes to fault, or blame (I wonder, how does a family support each other, even when things aren’t perfect?) My goal is to show the weight we all carry and how we are both connected and isolated from each other.
— Sophie Barbasch, New York City
The Older Industrial Parks Near Newport, Victoria
This is an extended dialogue with the late Lewis Baltz’s seminal 1974 work The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California. The result offers images that transform Baltz’s stark Californian minimalism into an ethereal antipodean nocturne.
Baltz’s spartan boxes manifest a common American theme: the promised land defiled. He was interested in “the phenomena of the place. The effect of this kind of urbanism… What kind of new world was being built here?”
Australian landscape rarely elicits such blatant anger. Our notion of landscape seems very different. Baltz documents the short-term impact of money while my project explores the mildly subversive impact of people after the event (more erosion than explosion).
My aims and Baltz’s may seem different and yet they are very much connected. Both projects are deeply rooted in an exploration of place and time, there and here, then and now, Baltz and Lane.
— Bill Lane, Melbourne, Australia
After Eisenhower is directly shaped by my upbringing in a conservative military community in Twentynine Palms, California. Both of my parents served in the United States Marines Corps. My own conflicted view of the military has spurred my curiosity about its role in American life.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about the grave implications of the growing power of the military and the military industrial complex in his 1961 farewell address. Eisenhower’s speech provides the framework for this project. Was his concern justified? My work explores the signs and clues that reveal the influence of the military on American culture and also the attitudes of Americans toward the military.
In many American places, especially areas surrounding military bases, military culture is an inseparable part of the landscape. One can see many signals of how the military is intertwined in the established American patriotic, national and Christian identity. Support for the military and veterans is simplified through iconography and combined with complex and polarizing issues such as religion, race, class, patriotism, and gun culture. I find the saturation of these oversimplified messages disconcerting; however, I am also fascinated by what they reveal. These messages, in both public and private spaces, are meant to have clear meanings, but these places and artifacts suggest other, more problematic truths about American life and our relationship to our military.
— Jasmine Clark, Chicago
The province of Groningen, in the north of The Netherlands, is traditionally an agricultural area. The land is flat, empty, stretched out. The soil is fertile. A large part of the province consists of clay soil, deposited during the many floods of the Wadden Sea over the centuries.
Once the eastern part of the province was known as the granary of The Netherlands. In other parts of the province sugar beets and potatoes are grown. But the number of farms has declined rapidly in recent decades. Sons no longer want to take over the farms of their parents. Youth pulls away to the industrial and densely populated western part of The Netherlands. The population on the Groningen countryside is ageing.
As a result of these developments, fertile farmland has been changed into water in recent years. New lakes were created, and new cities were built next to those newly landscaped lakes, in order to attract new residents to the sparsely populated area. These projects have not been very successful so far. The new inhabitants don’t come, whilst the province and municipalities involved lost large amounts of money on it.
The title Grinslân derives from the name that Frisians – who are the adjacent province – use for Groningen. I picked that name because I try to look at the landscape in my own province through the eyes of a foreigner.
— Reinier Treur, Haren, Netherlands
Transient Landscape is a project of 38 photographs taken in May 2015 in New Taipei City. It is in the Xindian District that I grabbed my camera to watch, like walkers who stop along the construction site gates, the world changing. Here, as almost everywhere else the construction site is the entertainment world in transformation. The scope of the project and the work which extend over several acres still reveal nothing that will be, but already everywhere the land was returned, dug, moved, destroyed. This transformation of the landscape is a tragedy for ecology, and yet it is the future we are building.
As in my previous series, I think of photographs of Transient Landscape as painting, at least as Pictorialists thought of photography. This is obviously a labor of atmospheric light with a concern for composition and framing. It is with this pictorial sensibility that I manage to “beautify” almost pathetically an assaulted landscape by urbanism.
— Guillaume Hebert, Taipei, Taiwan
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