Buenos Aires was founded, twice, on a small bluff not far from where the Paraná and Uruguay rivers enter into a broad estuary called the Rio de la Plata. Hundreds of miles of flat pampas give way, rather undramatically, to a small slope, about 30 feet in height, below which sits the river. After living in Buenos Aires for about two years, the flatness of the city, the impossibility of having a vista or a perspective from which to orient oneself, began to feel oppressive. I started taking pictures around the one, small topographical feature present in the city: the brief slant of the barely perceptible riverbank, or barranca.
Residents of Buenos Aires say the city turns its back on the river. Indeed, centuries of landfill have pushed the present-day edge of the river so far from its original banks that standing at any point on the riverbank, the river itself is never visible. What is visible are the markings of Argentina’s history: the lavish parks built in the 19th century, the seat of government, the bullet-scared façade of a government ministry, the site of a clandestine torture center run during the last military dictatorship, murals for candidates, a monument to a lost war, graffiti for recently a deceased ex-president, an elevated highway constructed for the World Cup and so on.
The photos in this work are ordered by their geographical location, from north to south, starting with the Avenida General Paz, which marks the northern limit of the Federal Capital district of Buenos Aires and then continuing southward until Parque Lezama, in the southern part of the city.
— Thomas Locke Hobbs, Buenos Aires, Argentina
My many trips back home to New York City on the train have helped me to remember lost pieces of time where life seemed simpler and less veiled. By revisiting the same landscapes in different seasons and under different weather conditions I was able to capture the past before it disappeared. As a painter and now as a photographer I have been drawn to the meditative quality of the Hudson River and the sacred aspects of the natural environment. This series is reminiscent of a more romantic era, when God and Nature were viewed as one.
— Marna Bell, Syracuse, NY, USA
There was a forest near the house where I lived when I was a child. When the forest existed, I felt a connection with a deep part of the world there. However, the forest was destroyed a long time ago, and only the process of the loss and its memory were kept in my mind.
I am now living in a place which is a little distant from there. When I look at the scenery in the periphery of the city where I live, I can see a new contemporary scenery which overlaps with the past scenery.
I keep walking and roaming around the place until it leads me to my destination. And the subdued light is shining on the space which illuminates my memory in the past. At that time I realize that I can regain the connection with the world.
— Koichi Nishiyama, Tokyo, Japan
My body of work, entitled Please Pay Here, is a project documenting the landscape and design of urban parking infrastructure — from a single layer of yellow-striped asphalt to multi-level concrete enclosures. It’s about the domination of urban space — a necessity of design and planning.
My photographs are taken mainly at night or after hours, when the working commuters abandon their parking stations and leave behind an empty and hollowed garage. It’s at this time that the cubed stacks of concrete layers begin to come alive. The loneliness of the empty spaces exposes the ambient entrails and cast shadows of the memories of the workday.
— Neal Johnson, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
I work as a graphic designer, photographer, artist and publicist. My projects vary from video art to type design. There’s a continuous thread in all my activities, whether it’s a graphic design or an article that I wrote: It’s made with the tools by which I communicate. I find my tools in the media or in public areas (the street). They show how daily life is coded. What is banal in one context becomes meaningful in another. I am always looking for the beauty in triviality, but my work does have meaning. It’s about what surrounds us. I look for the details that say as much as the whole — and sometimes more.
— Martijn Oostra, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
For more than a century, Mare Island was a United States naval shipyard, located in California, USA.
I, a person born in the Soviet Union at the height of cold war, having appeared on the territory of a US naval base, felt like a spy.
In the James Bond movies and other similar films, Hollywood has created a gallery of grotesque Soviet spies. My series, The Spy’s Collection, is inspired by these mass-culture stereotypes. A military base in California is photographed from behind the corner, while I was hidden in a pipe, peeping through a torn mesh fence. The photographer’s eye becomes that of a spy stepping out of a cheap blockbuster — or that of a gamer playing computer shooters.
All photos made on Mare Island are the views of a spy: from around the corner, from a shelter, from bushes, or through an aperture in a wall.
— Denis Tarasov, Ekaterinburg, Russia
I was raised in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and a Navajo reservation in rural Arizona — a varied array of settings that have contributed to my aptitude for solo treks and a remote creative process. Through photographic documentation I examine the ways in which the figure relates to the natural world around it. In negotiating my own surroundings, a process of performance and endurance is defined.
This work came from a month-long residency in Siglufjördur, Iceland. By grappling with the uncomfortable, the disquiet, the cold and unknown, I lay gesture to an overwhelming need to overcome isolation within these rural spaces as well as within myself. This riff in a seemingly picturesque space is informed by a personal coalition of nature and its aptitude for interference.
Aubrey R. Hays, Brooklyn, NY, USA
A study in the interest of using outward scenes to turn inward. Liminal refers to the threshold of a physiological or psychological response. Metanoia originates as a Greek word to describe a change of mind, more specifically to a profound, spiritual transformation. These works are a visual interpretation of the threshold of a transformation — the wild, untamed ether space within all things living especially in relation to nature and my own human nature.
The images are an attempt to visualize this internal place I find in myself and reflected in all living beings. Joining together in this threshold are great potentials for new ideologies of society, art and life.
— Rachel Wolfe, Johnsburg, Illinois
Casinos is a small village 38 km from the city of Valencia, Spain. There, the typical handmade nougat and almonds have been marketed over decades on the main road which goes through the village. Probably no one went to Casinos, but all of us went through it.
Nowadays, there is a modern and secure road which bypasses the town and eases the access to planned industrial and residential areas. These images document the beginning of the urbanization process in one of these future industrial areas near Casinos.
This project reflects how changes in the landscape can influence the collective imagination by altering our memories.
— Juan Margolles, Valencia, Spain & Berlin, Germany
My father, now very, very old, near ancient, lives alone on his farm.
Thick, insistent vegetation shrouds the buildings around his house. Giant trees fall and are left to rest. Structures, once useful, slump and collapse, succumbing to a lush profusion.
A mourning dove coos behind me as I step on to his porch. She sounds three deep round notes, monotone prophecies. Implacable mosquitoes swarm in the dry August heat; frenzied, I swat to keep from being eaten.
My father greets me, smiling widely, and declares, “The robins have gone.” He has said that at this time all my life. Then he always says, “They were here yesterday and today they are all gone. They know when to go.”
I know he is right. I have inherited his keenness for subtle changes in our Midwestern seasons. That morning, as I stepped outside of my home, I had smelled a hint of something, a coolness, maybe a dryness, something different. Fall is coming, I thought.
In February near its end, over the phone, because wicked weather sometimes keeps us apart, he declares each year, “The back of winter is broken. Oh sure, we may get some storms and more snow, but the worst has passed.” I know that, too.
Today the robins, prophets of spring and fall, have gone. I see he has left a bowl of bones on the porch for the raccoons.
Death blooms wildly in a weedy chaos.
— Liese Ricketts, Chicago, Illinois, USA