The natural environment, our industrial and technological infrastructure, and my place within them, are the focus of my work as a visual artist.
Timescapes, my most recent body of work, uses photography and video to document the transformation of various landscapes over long spans of time.
Questions about the long-term global impact that industrialized civilization has on the environment are framed within the context of my own rural surroundings in the Catskill Mountains of New York.
This relationship with nature is investigated by examining long term natural effects on industrial artifacts within the landscape, such as a discarded computer monitor or sewer drainage pipe.
I invite the viewer to contemplate their own relationship with nature as a formal meditation while also implying complicity in its destruction and ultimate responsibility for conserving natural resources and preserving what’s left of our natural environment.
— Dave Hebb
In Auschwitz, I felt the presence of its ghosts guiding me, guiding my camera, and was then, and continue to be now, moved to share this place’s tale of tragedy through the images I saw through my lens.
I arrived there almost by happenstance. While planning a trip to Prague and Budapest, I learned that an overnight train goes from Prague to Krakow – and from there it was a short local train ride to Auschwitz.
I walked the grounds in silence, in meditation, photographing the aesthetics, the mood, the sense of foreboding – and tried to capture the energy that lives in that space.
Equally important to my artistic vision is my commitment to Auschwitz as a meditation on decay and memory. Like others’ sacred grounds that are decaying, Auschwitz today is disappearing and raises questions about whether places of this kind should be restored and the importance of memory and commemoration.
— Susan May Tell
One of the issues I struggle with in my life is being open. I think it stems from a fear of being judged, that in knowing the real me, I will be found lacking in some capacity and abandoned. It’s something I’ve tried to work through, a lack of faith in anything that would endure.
It is one of the reasons I wanted to become an architect. I thought that in imagining these built forms, I was creating something that would remain, something I could construct that would stand long after I was gone. It is also the reason why I’m so drawn to photographing the natural world, especially near urban areas.
Repeatedly, the subjects that I find engaging are the ones that survive in an environment meant to exterminate as a way to answer the questions I continually grapple with: What is permanent? Will anything last?
I became obsessed with this lone tree’s form and photographed it more intensely than any subject I have ever focused on. It was alone, with its scars unclothed, threatened by vines, but still standing. I was moved by its quiet beauty and strength, within it a humble model of perseverance and survival.
— Lauren Henkin
For the past five years, I have been making photographs in the snow and ice. I am interested in metaphor, and have sought to comprehend our human place in this world.
On the surface, these images are quite beautiful. They appear elegantly simple and accessible, evoking, perhaps, the silent tranquility that one might feel after a fresh snowfall.
Beneath the surface, however, there is a subtle tension. Like fine haiku, each image quietly references another season, a time of life or activity that has already passed, and may come again.
Throughout the series run the leitmotifs of poles and ropes and a palette of man-made color. The relationship between the human and the natural world becomes more tightly intertwined as the series progresses, and the cycles of life and death and transformation fold inward.
This interest in time passage and life cycles becomes distilled in explorations of water itself. Ice, snow, fog and water embody the liminal states of a primary element. At times, the multiple forms exist simultaneously.
It is as though the thing itself possesses its own counterpoint and transformation is a constant condition, despite seeming moments of stillness.
— Lisa M. Robinson
Laura McPhee made these remarkable photographs over several years on successive visits to the Sawtooth Valley. River of No Return is organized like a long poem or a piece of music…a stunning look at an actual place, a meditation on rivers, nature, history, the history of landscape photography, of the American West and the idea of the American West. And – while I’m piling theme on theme – the nature of fact and the nature of myth, and how we hold the world in our hands.
— Robert Hass
In “Angels in Fall” I am interested in documenting the disconnection
and forlorness of man to his environment.
— Karin Apollonia Mueller
The Colorado is no longer a wild thing. It’s a human construct, a pipeline. Except near the sources, neither the Green nor the Colorado flows free. Colorado River water is entirely used up before reaching the delta of its own making.
The West depends for its life on Colorado River water and reclamation is a remarkable feat. But there has been a heavy price. Hundreds of square miles of desert and canyon country now lie buried beneath giant reservoirs.
Downsteam chronicles my exploration of the mainstem Colorado — the mountainous reaches, the rushing canyon waters, the stilled reservoirs, and the diminished waters of the lower river.
Sometimes I find beauty, sometimes desecration, often a perplexing and absurd combination.
— Karen Halverson
I like to think of By Rail as more “sweeping epic” than polemic. The conversation I find most interesting has the railway as the skeleton of our northern New World civilization. In the myth of America immigrants and civil war veterans constructed The First Transcontinental Railroad in eastern states, and from the Pacific prodigious Chinese labour forced tracks through mountains; rail populated frontiers and diminished native-controlled territories. Here, coast-to-coast confederation was contingent upon a rail link, and telegraph lines (remote communication!) were erected in rail sidings. We’ve matured in tandem with mechanized travel; the design of our communities, our conception of how to utilize space reflects that. I think it’s useful to extrapolate further and recognize more ephemeral conventions like time zones are also products of railway companies.
— Scott Conarroe
Mr. Fitts clearly has an eye for the more forlorn aspects of the American dream and the technical skills to realize his vision in these very accomplished prints. “No Lifeguard on Duty” could be described as depressing, but as a body of work it has an undeniable elegiac quality.
He is working in the tradition of Western landscape artists that includes painters from the 19th century and later photographers such as Robert Adams, Richard Misrach and Stephen Shore. These sites are among the minor ruins of a nation. They embody the Ozymandias effect of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem: “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.”
— Charles Dee Mitchell
Photographer Alejandro Cartagena has taken the theme of suburban sprawl to a new level of visualization and power in a body of work entitled Suburbia Mexicana: Cause and Effect. Shot over a period of three years in his hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, the series focuses on disruption to the landscape, both physical and social, that has occurred as a result of overbuilding.
Since 2001, the city has been transformed due to contradicting policies that have allowed developers to build more than 300,000 new houses in the metropolitan region. Cartagena has recorded these monumental changes, with a vision that both heroic and poignant.
In a race to put up cheap housing fast, the landscape has been urbanized before plans for efficient roadways, recreational parks and public transportation can be realized. As well as capturing the relentless march of uniform structures across an arid landscape, Cartagena has also explored the hardships faced by the new inhabitants of what can truly be described as the new dystopia.
— Peggy Roalf