These photographs are part of a survey of the landscape of Long Island that I have been working on since late 2008. I have been systematically making my way eastward from Brooklyn into Long Island, seeking out patches of semi-wilderness to explore and photograph. I say “survey,” but the photographs are not so much a record of the place as they are a record of my experience of the place, which I think is an important distinction.
I often struggle to reconcile my interests in the classical notion of picturesque beauty and the distressing truth of the contemporary landscape, and that struggle has become the foundation for this project.
I can’t say exactly what it is that draws me to a particular place—hopefully that is communicated through the photographs. Once I’ve found a location that interests me in some way, I return over the course of months and years to continue to explore and observe the small changes that occur over time. I plan to continue working on this project indefinitely.
— Dalton Rooney
After Trinity is a photographic project I began in the spring of 1987 and resumed in 2009. As an artist I feel a need to do more than just create aesthetically-pleasing photographs. My hope is to make art that both educates and promotes discussion. Global issues have been part of my consciousness for many years. Nuclear weapons (and their proliferation) entered my awareness after I read about Hiroshima as a ninth-grader. Without a doubt the threat of nuclear conflagration and the on-going technological development of such weapons systems are still causing political turmoil worldwide.
With these ideas in mind I adopted a multi-faceted, anthropological approach for this project. I visually catalog the symbols and artifacts of the atomic era, the detritus of early nuclear testing, and the active (or decommissioned) weapons installations just beyond public view.
For the Proximity subset of the After Trinity series my intent was to photograph the dichotomy of typical rural landscapes that sat only a few miles away from active ICBM missile silos. As Mark Rawlinson puts it in his essay titled Out of Sight, Out of Mind, the Proximity triptychs “gather together the tick-tock of everyday life—the work of the grain elevator, the life of the corner convenience store—with the Minuteman ICBM silos. Abutted in this way, the disjunction between one and the other, long forgotten, becomes chillingly apparent: Out of sight is out of mind.”
— Jeff Brouws
As a photographer, I work the night shift, the time of transition from daylight to night. During this liminal period, natural light gives way to streetlight, moonlight, window light, and advertisement and surveillance lighting. The workday crowds ebb, and the city’s avenues, bridges, parks, and buildings begin to resemble a giant set, a theatrical approximation of a city.
Paradoxically, it is only in these moments of dereliction that we can begin to populate the metropolis with our own thoughts and fantasies.
Lately, I have searched out places where the highways and bridges of the city’s exoskeleton abut construction sites overgrown with weeds. Such places remind me of illustrations in anatomy books, cross-sections that reveal the body’s structure. Locations in Long Island City and Hunter’s Point, Queens, are rich in these juxtapositions. These areas, like others I have photographed in Manhattan’s former meat packing area and Brooklyn’s DUMBO section, show a city in transition from an industrial to a post-industrial phase.
I work with traditional media: medium format cameras and color negative film which I print in a traditional darkroom whenever possible. I use digital media for scouting places and for extremely large prints.
My subject is elusive: the locations that reveal the city’s dis-location, seen at the brief moments each day when the light itself is shifting.
— Lynn Saville
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