The series Landmarks, produced between 2012 and 2018, shows the entanglement of nature, land, labour, industry and technology in Tasmania (Australia), as it is characterised by big hydro-electric power stations, dams, water reservoirs, penstocks, power pylons and lines, mining operations (tin, iron), etc. In this work I also focus on the remnants and ruins of the original infrastructure put in place to facilitate the work on dams and mines, including now abandoned or dismantled construction camps and villages, where, however, we can now witness the emergence of natural growth. I am especially interested in the way industry and infrastructure, roads and waterways, were built into the land and shaped it to create the unique historical and inhabited human landscape of Tasmania. As such, my work explores photographic possibilities outside the stale opposition between wilderness photography (Ansel Adams or Peter Dombrovskis) and New Topographic photography (the Bechers or Wenders).
Photographs in this series look at the economic and environment motivations which have shaped the land. The title, Coping with the Landscape, refers to my fear of the state of the contemporary landscape – fear generated by the loss of humanity in the land that supports the movement of capital first, and the needs of the locality second. This series of photographs follows the intermediate zone, which crosses the borders between infrastructure space and domestic space, searching for a path through the land which is not prescribed. Illuminated by billboards and street lights, the storage containers and infrastructure create the boundaries of the land. Within that boundary, the instability of this human-made landscape emerges.
“I don’t want to see the typical touristic things.”
This is probably the most popular sentence of every tourist. But what do they want to see instead? The normal and boring things or people? Trash, dirt or poverty? Maybe this is exactly the non-touristic stuff. So, as a tourist, you do not want to see the reality. Discovering new things, beautiful landscapes or food – that’s what traveling is all about. But for the local people things are just normal: they see exactly the same things as the tourists. Only through different eyes.
Whenever I am on vacation, I try to see things with the eyes of the locals. The camera helps me a lot because you have to observe and be patient. A kind of normality is documented in my project Ordinary Japan. It is a subjective view of Japan and its landscape.
What were originally designed by Andre Le Notre in the 17th century as entertainment gardens for the kings’ court have become, in many instances, the terrain vague, or disregarded landscape. The countryside where the gardens were built has become the city and the suburbs of Paris, France, turning the bucolic into urban landscapes. With a short ride from the city, one can enter a world of solitude, beauty and peace. In my photography I have concentrated my focus on the periphery of the gardens, where time and space are given to contemplation and reflection.
These images are from my forthcoming photobook Going Out, which will be available on my website this fall.
Fundamental to human life, for millennia we have sought out salt. A search for the familiar daily grain in the vast expanses of the salt mountain, pan, lake and vein. Equipped with a geologist’s toolkit I went out into the field, following well-worn paths, maps, and Google Earth images. Born of the Purest Parents oscillates between the fragmented mineral specimen and the topographic survey. Through closely observed landscape features, scale and alienation are explored within both natural and man-made places.
I work in poetry and photography, the two being close in principles, but ultimately living on two separate tracks. My influences, in both cases, come from post-war modernism: Russian metarealism and the Language poetry on the textual side, and Düsseldorf School and New Topographics on the visual side.
What I’m trying to do is a meticulous study of structure that results in an ultimately lyrical outcome. The methodology of it is very impersonal and restrained, never directly human, so the composition is focused primarily on form, and the sentimentality comes from honoring it as such. In equal measure, it is a way of pointing and a way of worship.
So I picture small things, small movements, small differences in shades, suggesting that it’s the particular something, like the curve of a path, or the brownness of dirt, or the shape of an oak, that affirms the sensibility of life to begin with.
Kalochori (meaning “good village” or “nice land” in Greek) is a series I created just outside Thessaloniki, the second-biggest Greek city, in the north of the country, where three rivers meet (the Axios, Loudias and Gallikos). After having traveled through the Balkans they pour into the Aegean Sea. Their deltas form a lagoon that should be protected because it hosts rare animal and plant species, but it neighbors the industrial zone of the city and suffers from air and water pollution.
To my eyes and mind the result is a postmodern landscape combining beauty and death, rare colors and figures formed inside an oily inertia.
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