Drifting in the city sometimes my eyes are captured by something or someone I would not expect. One day, in fact, during a walk my attention and my camera were attracted by a road sign covered with colorful flowers. The colors of the flowers contrasted with the grey of sky and asphalt. Those flowers were placed there by relatives or friends of a victim of the road. Lately I discovered many memorials like this in my city and in other Italian cities. If we read the statistics of deaths in road accidents we remain petrified by the proportion of the case. That’s why I’ve called this series A Silent War. There are many deaths, but spaced out in the 365 days they will not impress public opinion.
Except the associations for sustainable mobility no one hits the road to protest against the enemy that kills. We have few moments of dismay when we hear news of a road victim, moments that become hours or days if the victim is a friend, the days become eternity if it’s a beloved one. Well, these are the memorials in my city. They are not usually captured by the eyes of the drivers, and still are perceived as something alien to our lives. These altars represent the pain that widens in the city. The collective unconscious wants to remove it and forget about it. Every time we go down the road we should think that we are sitting on a weapon and we must remember the martyrs of this silent war.
— Gustavo Boemi, Turin, Italy
A horizon line represents a gateway to Enlightenment — a Release, which is…
The marriage between the Carnal and the Eternal worlds (Joseph Campbell)
The axis mundi: an established center point or navel of the universe (Mircea Eliade)
The connection of the sky with the ocean, the desert, or the Midwest Plains that leads the viewer to his or her inner place of self.
This work records my visceral experiences of seeing the connection between the world of physical reality and the unseen inner world of consciousness. The images represent the moment where we, as physical beings, touch the ethereal world. Where we can choose open space and gently, passionately, visually, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and meaningfully experience the point of release between the Eternal and Carnal worlds.
Carnal space is essential, a prerequisite for life. Our bodies are a product of nature, made from materials in the universe that produce impulses and needs that result in the creation of our material world: a world of time and space, a world of suffering and sorrow, a world of reality. Eternal space is that which is seen but not felt. Called emptiness or nothingness in Buddhist traditions, it is timeless and infinite, the sublime. Never nihilistic but expansive like the universe, it is inside us and exists without judgment.
Empty space contains meaning and offers choices to create the eternal or profane space — the mindful Zen garden of Ryoan-Ji in Kyoto or the chaos of Las Vegas. When space is devoid of meaning, we risk creating T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland — a world without significant inner meaning.
There needs to be a balance. In all our scientific undertakings and successes, we have improved the material world. Progress in our understanding of the Eternal space has not been equally as successful. Yet, intuitively, we sense that the profane and sacred live side-by-side as equals within us. Without the sacred, we live in the profane, or The Wasteland. Without the profane, we cannot attain the sacred. To live only within the sacred would have no meaning within the profane. It is only by embracing the sorrow and death in the world of space that we find meaning (or give reference to the sacred) found in the moment and eternity of life.
The images are intuitively composed so that open sky and reality are paired, yet open space is predominant. As opposed to traditional imagery (in antiquity) where the sky usually represents the male energy and the earth (and moon) represents female energy, I unconsciously reversed these qualities: the sky is more feminine and the ground is more masculine. The horizon in many images represents the release point between human existence and ethereal meaning.
Shades of blue are predominant in this work. Optically, blue is perceived from the oldest parts of our optical system. I believe that our penchant for Blue represents our evolution as organisms from the ocean. When basking in an ocean wave, we look up and see either blue water or blue sky. Clear blue skies are hopeful and emotionally attractive, commonly associated with values such as harmony, faithfulness, infinity, and safety; it is consistently the most popular color worldwide. Cloudy images create a Ganzfeld effect, where our eyes lose reference to visual reality. When combined with horizon, they suggest a point of release, where eyes lift upward into the expanse of the eternal while also turn inward into the expanse of the self.
— Yoichi Kawamura, Claremont, California, USA
Open Space Office was shot in Portugal over a three-year period and represents a transformed landscape that portrays the existence of Man as a constructive, reconstructive and contemplative being. The landscape appears completely and irreversibly transformed and it was this transformation that caught my eye and fueled my interest in conducting this project, basing it on this very landscape.
The work presented aims to portray a reality that suffers an ongoing daily process of rapid transformation. Therefore the pictures show a temporary reality inserted in a natural landscape undergoing progressive transmutation. They are unique and imposing spaces with a undeniable visual impact which bestow on the images a strong formal and plastic content. I would like to emphasize that these were the aspects I concentrated on and attempted to visually portray the best that this intervention could present to the eye, both in relation to the formal configuration and in relation to the chromatic and lighting harmony that characterize these spaces that create a unique environment. In this way, we can behold a dialogue between Nature and Man’s action, between harmony in a texturized cutting and what develops in it, what involves and transforms it, as is particularly visible in the first images of this series, that portrays the idea of an organic whole.
I find it difficult to transmit on film the personal experience and all that one feels and observes at these immense and torn sites, where silence is felt in an unnatural and intimidating way. It is a well-known fact that an image cannot replace reality. That is why I chose to include parts of a hidden horizon or an incomplete landscape, in this way suggesting a different perspective, since the proximity to these sites which grow in the opposite direction to what is normal, are usually unobserved by the spectator — almost giving them the chance to rebuild them.
— Tito Mouraz, Porto, Portugal
Drake’s Folly is a photographic book focusing on the oil region of Pennsylvania, and particularly the town of Titusville, where in 1859 Colonel Edwin Drake drilled the well that started the modern oil industry.
I journeyed through the region in search of hints to the past boom in oil production and the vast infrastructure that once dominated the landscapes. I was keen to see how the region has fared since the oil industry began to focus its attention elsewhere in America.
After the emergence of stories of a black liquid which was seeping from the ground, the then-fledgling Seneca Oil Company sent Col. Edwin Drake in search of this elusive substance. After much frustration and ridicule, on the 27th of August 1859 and at a depth of 69.5 feet, Drake made a discovery that would change the planet forever.
Unbeknown to him, Drake had made a discovery that would not only illuminate peoples’ homes but also radically transform the evolution of human civilisation.
— Dan Mariner, London, England
INSULAE is a project aimed at describing the search for isolation that the walls built around the new buildings of the new Roman suburbs represent.
While in various parts of Europe new ideas in shared housing are being built, in Rome the goal seems to be to close citizens behind walls which separate them and keep others away.
These photos were taken in the suburbs of Rome, built in the last decade with little public coordination and supervision, in an incoherent urban environment.
The only common feature of these new suburbs is represented by the walls which enclose every block and every building, and completely isolate the residents from the outside, in a growing climate of distrust and fear of the other.
This seems to me as a clear symptom of how the Italian society has changed in the last years.
— Paolo Fusco, Rome, Italy
For the past 20 years, the vantage point of my work has always begun with a deep emotional need to be linked with nature and the question of how this is presented within today’s media.
In the series Real Landscapes (2004 – 2013) I explore the boundaries between simulation and reality. The world is reproduced as a sort of model kit. Large impact scenes are presented on a very small scale. Images and replicas vacillate between the idyllic and the catastrophic. Using simple means, I create novel worlds of imagery that exist exclusively through photography, by photography, as a photograph.
The ideas for my pictures are driven by impulses from the worlds of art and media, and I complement these with images of personal significance. I stage commonplace miniature toy models into real landscapes: on North Sea beaches, in coal dumps, and on garbage heaps.
— Thomas Wrede, Münster, Germany
translation by Stephanie Klco Brosius
These photographs are part of a series entitled Alone Together, which tells the story of the expansion of Highway 69 in Ontario, Canada.
I have been travelling along Highway 69 for as long as I can remember. As a child, the highway served as a memorable – if otherwise predictable – stretch of road during family trips down to Southern Ontario. Today, I use Highway 69 for much the same reason, but travel in the opposite direction. Since living in Toronto, Ontario, my trips along 69 are now “up north,” and while the road still steers me towards my destination, today, it is far from the predictable stretch of highway experienced in my youth.
For more than a decade, Highway 69 has been undergoing a systematic expansion and widening from a two-lane highway to a full four-lane freeway. Alone Together looks at the natural, economic, social and cultural challenges faced in trying to expand a 75-year old highway along which both communities and nature have long settled. The series imparts views on the physical effects of the expansion on the environment and landscape, the economic effects on small municipalities, villages and First Nation Communities, and the social effects on both the local residents of these places and those that pass through them.
– Jason Brown, Toronto, Canada
Hey Charlie is a celebration of over fifty years of Harry Cory Wright’s involvement with a particular bend in a river and the field beside it. These joyful images are the culmination of a lifetime of experience of the place in which he grew up and to which he has stayed connected throughout his life.
The sense of the impulsive, and indeed mischief, is reflected in the title. Cory Wright calls his brother’s name — a child’s shout, an adult’s beckoning — to coax him into causing a stir in a place they know so well. They are allowed once again to be little gods. They create interruptions in the otherwise placid landscape; set off rockets into an evening sky; peer inquisitively into a haze of smoke creeping around a river bend. These striking and transient impulses, and the photographs in which they are captured, were intended to shake off the burden of the past and of nostalgia, and to provoke the making of new memories; to re-imagine, reshape and reawaken a much-loved place.
— Susannah Haworth, London
I’m only interested in what is here now,
and not in some theoretical abstract sense,
but in the most simple and direct way:
What is actual in the experience of this moment?
What is not conceptual?
And the reason for this is that I don’t have the feeling
that we have time. This is why I don’t want to waste any time
talking about the past or the future.
So what is here now that doesn’t belong to any story,
that is not a property of time?
— Alexis Vasilikos, Athens, Greece
I’m interested in exploring the possibilities of the medium as a way to represent the passage of time and the changes in the landscape. I am very attracted by the power of photography to explain a concept without forgetting its evocative nature.
In Re-photographing Barcelona with Google Street View I intend to confront two archives of images. One historic, material and formed by the photographs taken by known photographers who have worked in the streets of Barcelona and on the other side another image archive, without authorship, immaterial and constantly updated.
As a result of overlapping both archives, we can show easily the evolution of a city and its history, the changes can be viewed more illustrative, but also represents a confrontation between the analog and digital photography.
— Pedro Arroyo, Barcelona, Spain
Point your eye to the ground. Look carefully through the leaves, then you see some other color, a different color… a man-made color.
Camouflage is a ongoing series that explores man-made little artifacts mixed in the landscape. How long they’re there we do not know, and it doesn’t matter, because they’re already part of nature.
— Paulo Ayres, São Paulo, Brazil
With a field-driven approach, my practice examines cross-cultural patterns at the junction between the foreign and the familiar. Recent projects Topographic Mindset and the waves would welcome it beneath the sea use analogue photographic processes to address geography, borders, and place in a phenomenological manner.
In the mixed media series, the waves would welcome it beneath the sea, I traveled to Ireland in search of the sublime feeling of both beauty and fear that comes with standing on the edge of a cliff, overlooking something. I wanted to investigate geo-cultural patterns and phenomena within the landscape. I wanted to prove that these coincidental patterns exist and that rocks, no matter where in the world, form a solid cultural foundation. I made rubbings of the rocks along the coast of Nohoval Cove while also photographing the cliffs. By chance, the rock rubbings echoed the photographs I took and vise versa.
— Ding Ren, Amsterdam, The Netherlands & Washington, DC, USA
Untitled Seascapes are themselves like the sea: beautiful and seemingly straightforward, yet beneath the waves there is remarkable complexity that forms what we see on the surface. Drawing on a series of Monet paintings for inspiration, this series explores our deeply-held desire to be the first to find a place, to experience a landscape untouched by others, to make it our own.
In the 1880s, Monet painted scenes of the sea at Etretat in Normandy, which had become a bustling seaside resort by then. In his paintings, Monet returned the landscape to an earlier time, removing most signs of man’s presence. Turning to this same landscape for her ocean vistas, I created a group of serene images, devoid of the clutter of modern-day tourism. Like Monet’s idealized landscapes that were created in the studio — often from photographs, I use Photoshop to paste together sections of sea and sky and erase beachfront hotels and tourist boats. The scenes are lush and striking, all what one would hope for in a perfect, unspoiled landscape. Yet there is something impossible about them; they are like paintings, constructed from imagination and desire rather than documents of what exists. The illusionary quality of them reminds us that however much we would like to find an unseen shore that we can call our own, someone has always been there before us.
— Justyna Badach, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Briones is a regional park in the hills east of Berkeley and Oakland, California. I have been photographing the landscape and the cows that live in the park for several years now. There are areas that are wooded where I have been photographing the trees and where I occasionally find the cows, especially when the weather is hot. In November I went back into the woods further than I had in a while, past a tree which had fallen over the trail, and found a cow that had died.
The cow had been dead for some time as I immediately noticed that there was no odor and there were no flies. What was there was a shell of what used to be a living creature. Considering all the leather worn in the world it is probably not surprising that the shell of the dead cow would remain mostly intact even in death months after the fact. It has surprised me to see it still that way even after months of photographing it until the weather and the scavengers finally have left only bones.
I have photographed what remains. The abstract beauty of what remains behind is what draws me back to photograph time after time. Sometimes the image is so abstract that it is difficult to tell what it is, while other times — although abstract — the subject can be identified. There is a certain beauty in what remains of the cow, a certain stillness and beauty in death which I see in these images.
— Kent Hasel, Walnut Creek, California, USA
The day I saw Saturn
Sometimes I need to leave.
To turn my back to the known places and just go. And search, and look, and feel.
I need to live it instead of reading, talking or looking at it through others’s eyes.
I need to experience something new, which will burn my mind as the light burns the film.
That day I saw Saturn.
That day I went to some abandoned mines.
An abandoned place is not really abandoned.
It was there before men; it will be there after.
It’s a place, even without a function, it’s there.
It just is.
Fascinating place, combining men’s leftovers with nature’s never-ending comeback. Not as a struggle, as an embrace.
The day was over, I entered the night. Through a telescope I looked up and there it was.
The rings are true.
— Ricardo Esteves Pinto, Lisbon, Portugal