Temporary still lifes
At construction sites in Europe on Sundays, I caught a wonderful art
Everything is constantly changing — between chaos and order,
building, demolition, rebuilding — but there are always moments in
process which exhibit some kind of momentum, perfection
and calmness — moments of rest and a certain romantic presence
between the continuously inexorable changes.
— Ben Gowert, Muenster, Germany
One of the architectural quirks of certain cities on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. is the solo row house. Standing alone, in some of the worst neighborhoods, these nineteenth century structures were once attached to similar row houses that made up entire city blocks. Time and major demographic changes have resulted in the decay and demolition of many such blocks of row houses. Occasionally, one house is spared — literally cut off from its neighbors and left to the elements with whatever time it has left.
My interest in these solitary buildings is not only in their ghostly beauty but in their odd placement in the urban landscape. Often three stories high, they were clearly not designed to stand alone like this. Many details that might not be noticed in a homogenous row of twenty attached row houses become apparent when everything else has been torn down. And then there’s the lingering question of why a single row house was allowed to remain upright. Still retaining traces of its former glory, the last house standing is often still occupied.
— Ben Marcin, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
We see the suburbs as ugly; we lament the loss of natural beauty.
We rush around by day filling every second, yet feeling completely unfulfilled.
And while we sleep wondering what it’s all about and perhaps dreaming of what once was,
the silent beauty of the landscape returns; altered, yet still there.
People have described my work as dark and menacing, with a foreboding quality, but I think this is more to do with the viewer’s own perceptions, formed by influences like human nature, upbringing and a paranoid media; which push the idea that bad things happen at night. For me, these are places that have a certain magic to them, rather than menace.
While the urban landscape is full of activity by day with people and cars, my photos are absent of these so as not to distract the viewer. There is a distinct absence of people because human nature first draws our attention to figures, and away from the landscape. The focus of my photography isn’t on people but on place, on the landscape itself.
My series, Suburbs at Night, is an ongoing exploration started in 2009 that attempts
to seek out these spaces and the landscape that remains, although forever changed, still timeless.
— Ben Kelly, Melbourne, Australia
I look for a beach, usually facing West, and set up my 4×5 or 8×10 camera, often at sunset. As the light fades, I make long exposures of the last few feet of sand, a few feet of water, and the shifting edge between them, allowing the motion of the waves and reflections of the sky to combine in unpredictable ways with the chemistry of the film. I crop the resulting images to exclude the horizon and to emphasize ambiguities of scale and substance, looking for effects that are both seductive and unsettling when printed at large size.
— Ben Altman, Ithaca, New York, USA
Completed in 1974, Alaska’s Dalton Highway (known locally as the haul road) is the northernmost road in America. At 414 miles, the predominately dirt road follows the upper half of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, and is maintained exclusively as the transportation route for the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay. The road was opened to the public in 1994.
I began running the road in the Fall of 2007. Always North or South — advancing or retreating. The road is in my blood. The hum of my tires in my ears. Those I meet on the road are mostly searching for something. Some know what they search for, while others hope the answers will come from the landscape.
My own search begins, and ends, with the road — a dirt scar, cut through an impossible landscape. Beautiful and heartbreaking.
This is the ‘last frontier’, yet here we are.
— Ben Huff