Two years after a neighbor clearcut a portion of the forest my wife and I live in, a fierce windstorm roared across the open clearcut and ripped apart, uprooted and toppled 120 of our trees. A few of them hit our house.
Foresters call it a catastrophic windthrow.
After repairing our home and re-planting our land, I began to photograph the tree farms that surround us. There are three distinct phases, beginning with the clearcut. Next is the burn phase where limbs are piled high and burned in the fall. In late winter and early spring new seedlings are planted.
In forty years, when the Douglas firs just begin to feel like a forest, they are felled and the cycle begins again.
From certain vistas all three phases can be viewed in a rolling mosaic of industrial efficiency and productivity.
— David Paul Bayles, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
My work over the past couple of years has been an ongoing project called Factory-Trees. Through various photo series I’ve explored concepts like cohabitation and colonization through the roles and relationships of physical elements within our common environment.
These particular images are from one of those series called The History of Towns and Cities which considers the role human structures play in creating the space of our daily lives. Originally a means of surface colonization, our built artifacts over time start to shed value, and in the process begin to take on their own trajectories. These structures together form our conception of place. Though familiar, often to the point of escaping notice, our places and the elements within them continuously evolve, much like the organisms living among them.
With this perspective a photograph becomes, not a frozen moment separated from time, but rather a documentation of change: complex, alive, in a steady state of collective becoming.
— David Carter Lee, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
The nature elements and its processes are the starting subject of my photographic work. I dive into the relationship of Human to Nature, the modern subject-object binomial and the physical absence of the human element in the searching of the resonance that emptiness produce are some of the characteristics of my photography.
I like the artisan character, intense and serene rhythm imposed by analogue photography and the medium and large format cameras . A state of full consciousness as to what the “photographic moment ” means. The physical-chemical film and handling characteristics are an important part, too, in the production process of my photographs.
— Agustín David, Alicante, Spain
When I began making these photographs, titled Interface, I had been thinking a lot about issues of land use and growth. I became interested in what could be found at the margins — between city and wild areas. Not in the most obvious and extreme examples, but in the most normal everyday places, in plain sight. In this interface there is evidence of a dance where human construction invades and nature slowly returns. A subtle type of asymmetric warfare where the brute force of progress skirmishes with the persistence of nature. As I explored these in-between places I found views of seemingly preternatural artifacts and arrangements turned out by the fray.
In contrast to ideas of conventional beauty in the landscape it became an exposé of the insidious. This study also became an exploration of my own conflicted beliefs and values. In fact, we are all, in one or many ways, complicit in unbridled progress and growth, the consequences of which are becoming more apparent every day. And yet these places are still beautiful.
Nietzsche concluded that in order to decide if something is right or wrong, one needs to ask, does the action affirm life or negate it? To affirm life one must welcome it in its entirety, reveling in the painful and tragic right along with the joyous. To look away, to retreat into some other realm for false comfort, is to negate life.
— David Kressler, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Catskill Mountains began as a seeing exercise. It must happen to everyone at some point, when you cannot see the forest for the trees — in the most literal sense, when you become inured to your surroundings. I’m not sure when it happened, but I have spent the past twenty-five years in the Catskills and I could no longer see the mountains — the very same blue and green landscapes depicted by the Hudson River School. The natural world described by John Burroughs. The mountains and their valleys are still there and I am certain they remain beautiful. I simply wasn’t able to see them in the way I wanted to – or in the way I could remember seeing them.
In an effort to regain my sight, I began with the hills, in the hope that I would see the mountains. Perhaps along the way I would also see a forest and its trees.
— David Barry, Margaretville, New York, USA
This work is from an on-going project, coincidence, which joins narrative photographs made in urban environments with landscape images that show little or no evidence of any human activity. Each pair consists of two images that interact to create a linkage of time and space, of artificial and natural, perceived and not perceived, suggesting that whatever circumstances are apparent in the moment are just tiny fragments of an infinite and timeless universe.
These diptychs evolved out of an attempt to resolve the difference in my mind between the two major branches in my work. I felt that I was seeing landscapes and the urban environment from different perspectives and concluded that the way I understand was being fundamentally changed by where I happened to be. Until that point it seemed natural to group these bodies of work separately, but I was troubled by the feeling that there was something missing from both groups. Although they seemed complete logically they fell short of expressing something crucial that I wanted to remember: that it is important to keep in mind that what is happening in our consciousness is mostly illusionary. I don’t know if they succeed in doing that, but they do create some interesting tensions and interactions that speak to the fascinatingly paradoxical nature of photography.
What is important to me is the way that the images interact to undermine each other’s context. You could say that the “content” of each pair is the invisible line where they meet.
— David Evans, Mission, British Columbia, Canada
These large-format photographs were made during 2008 – 2009 on South Vancouver Island, on Canada’s West Coast. This area has seen a shift from a resource-based economy of logging, fishing and in its distant past whaling and seal hunting, to primarily one of tourism.
I photographed the everyday world of this environment with an acknowledgement of this history. I present the murals, cruise ships, recreation vehicles, ocean-view property and other subjects as a means to explore ideas that are concerned with our perceptions of nature.
I perceive our relationship to the natural world as one that is mediated by romantic ideals of beauty and harmony. Our representations of nature can be seen as attempts to frame the chaos of the natural world within the markers of familiar cultural symbols. We are all tourists in the contemporary landscape.
— David Pollock