The suburbia that I live in tends to be a homogenized landscape. The inhabitants of my town, and towns like mine, often drive past a plethora of diverse environments masked by the unassuming architecture that sprawls across the space we occupy.
With the intent of simply visiting new places and trying to understand a bit more about the diversity that surrounds me, I set out to document the spaces that various religious institutions occupied, and observe the physical impact of spirituality in the landscape.
Some spaces were as small as a storefront in a strip mall and others had their own large swaths of land complete with campuses and never-ending parking lots. During the project (which I often think about picking back up) I also attended services and spoke to the leaders of the different institutions. While this is not by any means an exhaustive method of spiritual pursuit, I came to a personal conclusion that many of these institutions, taken at face value, were pursuing unique ways of what appeared to be mostly similar ideals. The pursuit of these ideals just manifest themselves through a variety of arrangements and environments.
This image is from what is one of the largest non-denominational Christian congregations in the area, Calvary Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois.
— Peter Hoffman
I began a project titled Rooftop, photographing green roofs and rooftop gardens as part of my ongoing visual investigation of the human relationship to the environment and contemporary landscape.
By exploring cities and documenting green roofs and rooftop gardens, I am highlighting the ingenuity of these additions to architecture and the landscape, and showing their relationships and tension to the skylines they occupy.
These gardens are largely invisible and inaccessible to the general public and therefore not meant to be lived in or enjoyed up close. Instead, their purpose is to create a path to a more secure environmental future.
Rooftop addresses what we are doing to correct our folly and make up for our relentless need to expand. In this extended project, I am building a compendium of photographs that will show the significance and positive effects of green roofs and rooftop gardens while revealing their function and visual sanctuary.
— Brad Temkin
Completed in 1974, Alaska’s Dalton Highway (known locally as the haul road) is the northernmost road in America. At 414 miles, the predominately dirt road follows the upper half of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, and is maintained exclusively as the transportation route for the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay. The road was opened to the public in 1994.
I began running the road in the Fall of 2007. Always North or South — advancing or retreating. The road is in my blood. The hum of my tires in my ears. Those I meet on the road are mostly searching for something. Some know what they search for, while others hope the answers will come from the landscape.
My own search begins, and ends, with the road — a dirt scar, cut through an impossible landscape. Beautiful and heartbreaking.
This is the ‘last frontier’, yet here we are.
— Ben Huff
Rome is living in a particularly critical period in dealing with new immigrants coming to the city in search of a job and a new life. One of the most visible elements of this crisis is the increasing number of illegal urban settlements.
This photo series is a small collection of these temporary and precarious “accommodations” developing both in the suburbs and in the city center. In those place, where asphalt leaves the space to nature, new immigrants (coming especially from East Europe and North Africa) can find a shelter.
The attempt of my work is to map these places, not with the intention of social denunciation or easy commiseration, but by trying to create a shared fantasy which belongs to all of us. The suggestion is the first idea we get of our world, if we think to children’s drawings, where fundamental things are condensed in a landscape with a tree, a little house and some people.
This basic landscape is what I am ideally trying to recreate in my pictures. Even if the house is just a mattress under a tree, or between two bushes, that place, at that moment, represents what we consider home: protection, habit, safety, the thin line between what is inside and what is outside.
— Alessandro Imbriaco
An important part of my childhood in Arizona was the camping trips we would take. In America, especially in the west, one can simply put on a back-pack, walk into the wilderness, catch a fish, build a fire and sleep on the ground. A wilderness experience had much to do with adventure: being challenged, scared and unsettled.
Upon moving to Europe in the late 80‘s, I quickly realized that the wilderness in Europe has been filtered through centuries of history and tradition and that the camping culture is far from the unpredictable and direct exchange with nature as it was in my childhood. The world of the camper is one of comfort, predictability, and a desperate attempt at a home away from home; the wilderness is avoided at all costs.
While people may long for the simple, carefree life in the midst of nature, they evidently find it impossible to live easily without comfort, safety and cleanliness. It is the search for a “true, wilderness experience,” caught between the urge to be free and the need for security.
— Andrew Phelps
The New Heartland is a photographic investigation of Ohio’s landscape that reflects ongoing changes in American values, cultural attitudes, and economic conditions at the dawn of the 21st Century.
I began this body of work in response to the 2004 presidential election. Over the course of a long and depressing day working as a poll-watcher, I thought about the extent to which the Midwest had changed during the two decades that I had lived here. That election revealed deep divisions among America’s citizens that were not only manifest in choices made at the ballot box, but also visible in the landscape.
The rolling farmlands and idyllic small towns that used to define our heartland are rapidly giving way to vast developments of mini-mansions and shopping “villages” designed to evoke an imagined era of luxurious consumerism. At the same time, traditional regional characteristics are becoming effaced by a ubiquitous global culture of material consumption — in the new heartland you can buy a quick fix of trendy espresso even out among the cornfields.
— Andrew Borowiec
Southern California native Amanda Keller Konya is dedicated to the investigation of the photographic medium, ideas about photography and the photographer him/herself. In addition to a constant and critical evaluation of photography and its continuing state of flux, she takes on the sociopolitical within her work, addressing issues such as toxicity, school closures, land use and public/private space.
The image “Art Objects” is from the larger body of work entitled Commute, wherein the landscape is explored via the automobile. The physical presence of both car and camera offers one a false sense of security. Windshield becomes viewfinder, allowing for contemplation during work commutes, mundane errand runs and the occasional road trip. The view reveals the seamless blending of the constructed landscape and the ease at which terrain is manipulated to accommodate, direct and survey the driver.
— Amanda Keller Konya
My photography is grounded (literally) in the landscape I grew up in: the West. For generations my family has farmed and I believe there’s a genetic imprint in the peace I find walking to the center of a plowed field. As a society we’ve become disconnected from these roots — and with
this series I’m striving to bring the inherent beauty of the land, and how we use it, to light.
Wilson’s Landing is the kind of place all small towns have — where kids go to drink beer, shoot guns and just hang out.
Over the past two years I’ve also been exploring the visual aesthetics of digital color, which is, by its nature, a very non-heroic photographic language. Returning to the landscape in a quiet manner, I am searching for a space where color is both flat and dimensional — where the land is both ordinary and timeless.
— Ann Mitchell
Terraria Gigantica examines the world’s largest “glasshouses” that allow the creation of a landscape that would otherwise be impossible in that particular climate. These giant high-tech terrariums draw from a rich lineage of public conservatories cultivating the exotic. They also serve as large-scale laboratories for research on plants, animals, complex ecosystems and the effects of climate change.
While these spaces are often crowded with visitors, my experience is more solitary as my attention veers away from the carefully constructed exhibits and educational materials and into the corners and edges of the biomes — where façades crumble or illusion fades. In these liminal spaces, the natural and artificial elements often collide, overlap, bleed together and become indistinguishable.
Small details lead to big questions about what it means to create and contain landscapes and whether they supplement or replace experiences on the outside. Under the glass, I frame images and ideas, ponder the distinctions between natural and artificial, and examine the evolving “nature” of nature.
— Dana Fritz
For those who live in the city of Chicago, the parks provide the only semblance of nature that is easily accessible. I began photographing with the intent of describing the parks as a landscape. Later, I began to consider this question: “Can the city parks yield the same meaning, as say, Walden Pond did for Henry David Thoreau?”
My final conclusion is that though the parks are still quite urban, in both the landscape and the psychological experience of the person visiting them, they play an integral and important part in the lives of city dwellers.
Thoreau says that “in wildness is the salvation of the world.” My photographs provide a framework, but I want to leave it up to the viewer to decide if this “salvation” is possible within the concrete confines of the city.
— Bill Guy