My home is Southern California, a sea of concrete highways and shopping malls, suburbia interspersed with farmlands. How we use our land, assign its value, and employ it as a resource threads through our wide nation, and radiates from our shores across the world.
In both the urban blocks and rural expanses, the American landscape possesses our conflicts and fascination with change, our acceptance of the rough harmony of determination and deterioration.
I photograph in the fields and community of Oxnard, where an ever-changing landscape reflects the combined pressures of farming, commercial development and suburbia. The immense wealth of productive farmland is the core of this community. The land is cultivated, harvested, and turned into itself, to which the process loop begins, again and again.
These photographs are about the fringe of suburbia, that transition from the earth that feeds us to the homes that consume the land and the businesses that manufacture our way of life. How do we place value on the soil that feeds us and then tear up crops to build a shopping mall, only to see it shuttered before completion and left to spoil? In what do we believe and how do we want to create our landscape?
— Kurt Jordan
On my way back from Sydney, Australia to Frankfurt, Germany I had an overnight stay in South Korea. It was January 2010 and when we came out of the airport everything was covered with snow. It was extraordinarily beautiful and captivating.
The snow slowed everything down. There was hardly any traffic on the roads and the city looked like a deserted landscape. As we arrived at the hotel, every TV station was reporting on the masses of snow — which seemed to be unusual for Korea.
I started shooting some night views from our hotel window and continued the next morning. The landscape, with all the construction sites and the empty spaces, was totally fascinating to me.
I immediately fell in love with Incheon and wanted to capture this unusual and beautiful part of Korea in this rarely-seen state.
— Michael Werner
The quiet of the night and the streetlights let me show the towns like they are a set, or a model. The contrasty lights obscure some parts and reveal others. In the day you may look at the car on blocks behind the store but at night the light only reveals what it wants to. It creates an artificial reality and a cinema-like quality to the mundane.
When viewing these photos the viewer gets the impression that a car may roll up to the gas station or a person may walk out of the shadows. A still image of a town at night becomes a movie set where anything can happen or just happened.
I love the dark stillness that the night brings. These photos stop us in the places that we would otherwise drive though quickly in order to get somewhere — because they are nowhere.
— Doug McGoldrick
While accompanying restoration ecologists on prescribed prairie burns, I am drawn to the ephemeral quality of the single moment when life and death are not opposites, but rather parts of a single process to be embraced as a whole.
As fate would have it, this project began on the same day (and actual hour) of my sister’s first chemotherapy treatment, having just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
The parallels between the burn and chemotherapy were immediately revealed to me as I photographed with my sister in my heart and mind.
Burning helps reduce invasive vegetation that crowd out native plants, allowing sunlight to reach the seedlings. By opening the woodlands to more daylight, the fires prepare the soil for new spring growth, and the cycle of renewal continues.
So too, chemotherapy removes unwanted growth, allowing for new healthy cells to reestablish themselves.
It was with this deeper understanding of the life cycle that these images were created.
— Jane Fulton Alt
This current work is “noirish,” a darker view of my hometown than my previous images presented. I have always been interested in photographing the mundane, the obvious and proletariat vistas of the middle-class.
Upon research, and a Raymond Chandler reading spree, I discovered that I had been living the past three years only blocks away from two Chandler residences.
“Towards Drexel Ave.,” shot from my current studio window, is homage to Mr. and Mrs. Chandler, who lived around the corner during the years 1943-1946.
— Loretta Ayeroff
During the Great Depression, the U.S. government built three planned communities of Greenbelt, Maryland; Greenhills, Ohio; and Greendale, Wisconsin.
In photographing these “Greenbelt Towns,” I explore the New Deal vision to resettle displaced farmers and poor urban dwellers in model cities which unified the best elements of “town” and “country.”
I create an evocation of utopia as a place and idea in the American mind, while examining how this vision plays out in the contemporary moment.
I draw inspiration for my work from my curiosity in power structures and urban planning, in order to explore the complex relationship between humans, nature, and the built environment.
— Jason Reblando
City of Ambition is a series of citycapes from Chongqing, one of the largest cities in the world. My images reflect the sheer dimensions of the place. Like most of my work this project has autobiographic roots: I got to know the city through my in-laws, who live there. The people of Chongqing are very eager to show the world and their sister cities in China who they are. Together with the booming economy, this leads to an explosion in city development.
I am mostly interested in the outskirts, where the city can’t really be seen, but rather sensed. Also construction sites and places of change are of interest to me. They show us metaphorical facets of the huge changes taking place in contemporary China.
Astonishingly, Chongqing is an unknown place for most people in the western world. The city is located in Southwest China’s region of Sichuan and was the capital of China during World War II. The municipality is populated by approximately 32 million people.
— Ferit Kuyas
Patrick Shanahan’s photographs of Britain and Europe investigate the contemporary cultural landscape, offering a seductive and unsettling re-imaging of modern urban environments.
Making full use of the scenographic, artificial aspects of large-scale photography, Patrick produces topographic images that are close to the kinds of minimalism found in painting and sculpture.
His largely unpopulated compositions are subjected to a pristine finish and treatment of light, colour and space that help to establish a tension between a real and constructed landscape – a landscape in which the distinction between reality and imagination seems to blur and we are left with a peculiar sense of spatial estrangement.
— Patrick Shanahan
From Odessa to Kertch, on the shore sides of the Baltic Sea, from sea to earth, in Jurmala or the Tallinn suburbs, Melanie Bahuon carries a unique eye which questions the wonders and the finiteness of the world.
Her eye, looking “a little beyond the horizon”, at the tips of unnamed territories or in the depths of hostile seas, travels across the universe and its elements, scattered by discrete human traces.
Naming neither the lands nor the shores, Melanie’s eye wanders in the vastness, reuniting the antipodes and takes us on a mind journey tinted with melancholy.
What is it to guess beyond the perspective and the textures?
In a colourful and poetic mastering of the medium format Melanie Bahuon is humbly questioning planet earth, and beyond, mankind.
— Arnaud de La Bouillerie
The Salt Effect is a phrase that I first heard while photographing during an artist-in-residency in northwestern Utah, a region of great beauty and harsh conditions.
It was meant as a play off the term “The Lake Effect,” which describes the odor of Great Salt Lake: The wind blows southward with a sulfur-like smell that ironically transforms a breathtaking place into one where it can be unpleasant to take a simple breath.
The Salt Effect aptly describes my immersion and experience in the weather of the high desert surrounding Great Salt Lake. This series of photographs is my initial investigation into understanding the western landscape.
— Joni Sternbach