Residential Facades focuses on the documentation of suburbia: overgrown and under-planned. These continuously replicated structures boast an overwhelming sense of the generic; the nature of which is an indicator of the death of the local. The result of which is the eventual decline of spatially-derived identity and the emergence of a generic suburban, or dare I say American, vernacular.
These unadorned “facades” act as a veil of wealth and stability. They hint at the American dream, which in light of current national fiscal status it seems we can no longer afford. The title itself confronts us with a convenient double entendre, one simultaneously describing the physical face of these homes (and in turn our neighborhoods and projected identities), and the illusion behind which lingers the fragility of a nation.
— Travis Shaffer, Lawrence, Kansas, USA
This series of photographs, titled Marginal, examines life on the fringes of Detroit, Chicago, and Gary, IN. These lonely, undeveloped places are populated by castoff belongings and people who have nowhere else to go. Though the people who pass through are never around for the picture, the evidence of their presence provides clues into deciphering their marginal existence.
— Jennifer Ray, Chicago, USA
In summer 2010, I started working on a new project titled City River. Its focus is on the river Isar on which the city of Munich, Germany is located. In former times, the river was of great economic importance for the city but today it serves as Munich’s largest area for recreation. Although the Isar was canalized and its banks were fixed in the 19th century, large sections of the river convey an impression of “wilderness” that is quite exceptional for an urban landscape. This is due to the particular geology of the Munich area as well as a public initiative to “re-naturalize” the Isar.
City River is an ongoing exploration of the meaning of wilderness in the context of an urban landscape that has been used and rebuilt for many centuries. I am interested in the intersection of nature and culture and how people experience it.
— Thomas Wieland, Munich, Germany
Newland presents photographs of spaces built in the last few years in five new Dutch towns. This project questions the construction of the identity of these towns. How have these cities with no history been drawn and laid out? What has been erected there? Which monuments for which celebrations? However, we don’t have enough distance with these objects to be able to appreciate their legacy value for the next generations. It seems that photography, by freezing places and times in such spaces, vouches for or creates the legacy status of these objects.
The drawn spaces take shape through the photographic staging, whose role is here to create a moment – a moment and a monument. Newland is an imaginary space because it merges the landscapes of five cities. These landscapes present a scenography of the promotional/advertising town. This photographic corpus claims to be, maybe paradoxically, an archive in becoming. We ask ourselves the question of durability, while facing landscapes that were still but drawings half a century ago. Now it’s up to the viewer to question the shift between the imagined territory, photographed here, and the representation of reality, that often escapes us.
— Maxime Brygo
“All the past we leave behind,
we debouch upon a newer mightier world, varied world,
Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labor and the march,
Pioneers! O pioneers!”
– Walt Whitman, 1865
Pioneers! O Pioneers! is a survey of the modern American west, looking at a forgotten and rutted history of western expansion across the nation via rivers turned emigrant trails turned train tracks turned interstate, sprawling though still largely un-tamed and under-developed land, with much of it re-claimed, or “won” back, from the hand of progress.
So far I’ve traced back roads and emigrant trails through Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah, as well as taken a small glimpse into the way we both use the land of the west and strangely recast history to make it tourist-friendly, as seen in Oregon and Colorado.
The project stems from my childhood fascination with the emigrants who first journeyed west as distorted and immortalized for a very different generation and audience through the computer game Oregon Trail, and also through my adult travels through the west where I have found and been inspired by a vast, beautiful, and empty America. I have plans to head back west to New Mexico and California over the new few months to continue the project.
— John Loomis
ticky-tacky: (adj.) made of shoddy material; cheaply built.
legacy: (n) something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor.
In this series, I use two cameras to convey my notion of our ticky-tacky legacy. In the spirit of shoddy craftsmanship, one set is photographed with an old medium-format camera that leaks light. I take little heed to convention points of focus and composition. In contrast, with a large format view camera, I aim to capture, with precise detail, the structures and environment we leave as our legacy.
— Oliver Ogden
When I moved to Brooklyn in 2009, Newtown Creek was this great mystery lurking to the north separating my neighborhood of Greenpoint from Long Island City in Queens. I knew it was considered one of the most polluted waterways in the nation, but there was a lot that I didn’t know because the creek is hidden from view and walled off on all sides by industry.
After a year of digging I found layers of history embedded in the banks of the creek, dating back to the dawn of industry in the United States. Today on the surface one sees a wasteland stripped bare by generations of degradation, but the areas adjacent to Newtown Creek still serve as an important role in New York — at once a part of the city yet a world apart.
— Noah Devereaux
My body of work, Rochester, began as an exploration of street photography in the digital age. Building on the genre’s tradition and mantra of the “decisive moment,” as well as considering contemporary photographic practices that incorporate digital technology, these photographs could be considered “constructed moments.”
I photograph the landscapes and city scenes that surround me, and by compositing together multiple frames from the scenes I photograph, I create fictional narratives of the everyday. I often look towards mid-century street photography as well as pre-modern landscape painting to inform my own work.
Often when I’m out shooting I search for imagery that resembles common motifs in those types of pictures. I see it as a way of carrying on a type of conversation with artists of the past, the subject being the myth and mundane of the life that surrounds us, and the character of the environments we live in.
— Greg Jones
I had been there the day before, but the workers were still doing their work on the construction site, so I just took a shot of a bulldozer and went home. Two days later the weekend had started and the construction site was empty so I went back.
There used to be a small field where this picture is taken. Next to it there used to be a small forest, and in the forest there used to be 15 houses. I don’t know how many pictures I have taken of these houses through the years, but it wasn’t until they were abandoned that I took a series that I was satisfied with.
It makes good sense when you look at my work. I prefer to find the emptiness in spaces, and with a new road being build it was probably my last chance to photograph there.
— Martin Petersen
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