At more than three hundred years old, this tree stands as a sentinel, witness to centuries of development and change. Saying nothing of the tree’s intrepid strength as a living organism, this Majestic Oak still stands today for one reason: its aesthetic characteristics. Without which, the tree would most definitely have fallen the way of the forest once surrounding it. The Majestic Oak survives as a reminder of a decision made long ago to preserve a specific aesthetic.
Eventually, the act of choosing begins a perpetuation; one aesthetic choice begets another, begets another, slowly defining a subconscious vision of what beauty is. Only the chosen are experienced. Thus, only the chosen can be remembered.
This series, titled Second Nature, examines the way Americans represent the natural world through display. Within this series, decided manipulations like selective preservation and engineered wilderness act as a lens to explore ideas of mediated experience, perpetuated aesthetics, and transformative hyper-reality. This series is a catalogue of the varied ways we go about re-contextualizing the “natural world,” and thus redefining the way we perceive it.
— Kyle Ford, Saranac Lake, New York, USA
Town and Country exemplifies concise topologies that follow a curiosity for exploration into humans’s exchange with the landscape. In my work I look for images that contain a sense of balance and rhythm, that somehow incorporate the patterns of nature interpreted by human manipulation. These images behold a sense of place and order, and exemplify a backdrop of the American heartland.
— Sarah Zamecnik, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
I’m interested in telling stories both real and imagined. I’m fascinated, like many, by our existence as humans on the Earth and my images are often explorations of the environments we inhabit and the effect we have on these places. I’m interested in how we as humans make a mark on a space or place, leave behind a trace of who we are.
I like to imagine who may have created each scene and arranged the elements, like stills from an unfinished film.
Although ambiguous, the scenes must be authentic. I don’t want to stage anything or interfere with the reality of the images any more than I already am by choosing to photograph them.
The images form fragments of a story, suspended narratives created by anonymous players in a place where reality has created its own fiction.
— Kate Peters, London, United Kingdom
In Annabelle, Annabelle women stand transfixed in and among severe everyday landscapes, connected to the world by the objects surrounding them. Each frame is carefully constructed but what lies just beyond is uncertain, perhaps threatening and ultimately left for wonder. These women, with strength and wisdom in the depth of their age, stand boldly and carefully alone, and offer us the opportunity to create stories about life and death, power and vulnerability, magnificence and uncertainty.
— Caitlin Teal Price, Washington, DC, USA
I photograph cross-sections of our modern landscape, the stations of our lives and the silence between them. I search for signs, portents and absurdities in a strangely beautiful world that occasionally offers slivers of redemption.
From urban centers to the strip mall sprawl and finally to the new rural areas, many of us traverse an increasingly sterile terrain that is difficult to escape. I explore the architecture, landscape, spatial patterns and textures of a confusing and complex time.
I hope to glean some meaning from, and illuminate the mystery inherent in these transient places: the gas stations, U-Haul centers and commuter railroads that offer us a way home or a promise of escape; the video stores and recreation areas that provide some form of comfort or diversion, all under the ever-increasing veil of surveillance; and the seeming security and warmth of humble dwellings as well as the ubiquity of construction sites. It is here in these future ruins that our civilization haunts us. My goal is to photograph the silent truths of this uncertain age.
I’ve been photographing this landscape for the last ten years, first with a medium format camera and now with a view camera which allows an even more detailed examination of subject matter. I am drawn to the kind of narrative that allows the interplay of many different subjects, surfaces and locations, resulting in visual poems capable of multiple interpretations.
— Patrick O’Hare, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Cities have been designed to be the perfect habitat for humans. They are the culmination of the wit and control over nature and themselves, the power to be creative, seeking elevation and separated from nature.
Buildings: high, gorgeous, stunning, are just one representation of humans. In them we see the culmination of the power of man.
I redefine images of buildings, taking away their utilitarian use to see them as monuments, sacred objects of the contemporary city, as the temples of ancient cities.
— Edgar Ramirez, Mexico City, Mexico
My ongoing series, I Dream A Highway, consists of photographs taken on road trips throughout America but mostly in the West. Although I live in New York City, I grew up in England. I realize my pictures are a European’s romantic idea of America. I’m not documenting the suburban sprawl, strip malls, and box stores that dominate much of the American landscape. I’m seeking out the magic that still exists somewhere out there despite that creeping blandness. I’m looking for things that I find interesting but also things that are beautiful. If I can take a photograph that combines both interest and beauty then I’m happy.
— Rob Hann, New York City, USA
As part of the ongoing project The Devil’s Den I have been photographing along the Northeastern coast, Pennsylvania, Maryland and parts of the American South. I focused on former German prisoner-of-war camps and surrounding areas where prisoners were put to work by the US military. At the end of WW II there were over 400,000 prisoners who worked on local farms and in small industries.
There is an irony where these German soldiers, both high-ranking Nazi officers and foot soldiers, were tilling the fields, cutting the lumber, picking apples, taking care of the American soil. This caring work with the land stands in complete contrast to the horrific actions by Nazis and German soldiers in Eastern Europe of that time, such as Hitler’s scorched earth policy.
When photographing these landscapes I wanted to visually evoke the dualities that have characterized the German people over centuries, a people that are capable of both tremendous progress and destruction.
Romanticism has played a role in understanding the relationship of Germans to the landscape. In some photographs the land is overgrown, appearing in a kind of primal state, suggesting the return to the original forest. It also suggests a fascist aesthetic of purity promoted by pre-war German culture. Innocence and purity can be seen as a natural desire to regress after one has become corrupted.
— Dana Mueller, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
For a while I thought these photographs were part of a body of work. Then I realized that the body I was trying to create, an angry love letter to the city where I was born, was not something that I was interested in sharing. It was too straightforward and possessed little room for interpretation. I scrapped the series and was left holding the few photographs that, in my mind, transcended the literal confines of the earlier group. Unsure what to do with them, I set the project aside and continued to work on other things.
Lately some curators on the internet have taken notice of a few of the pictures and expressed interest in displaying them. While the series is at a stall I am still happy to share the favorable fragments. The idea that one photograph can stand alone, devoid of membership in a body of work, but still carry enough weight to warrant exhibition highlights one of my primary beliefs about the medium: the photographic image exists in a place that precedes language. Much of what can be experienced in looking at a photograph occurs far before one knows what it is “about.”
— Bucky Miller, Phoenix, Arizona