This work explores private memories about my homeland, mythical memories about my childhood’s fantastic world. An abandoned land: dream is the only way to approach it. A out-of-focus world where human presence is nearly absent and everything leads to a past no longer considered important. Every house, every landscape is suspended between past and present.
— Danilo Palmisano, Rome, Italy
Deeper into the Presence is a series of photographs made within the Red River Gorge geological area of Kentucky. The series title and approach to photographing this landscape was inspired by Kentucky author Wendell Berry’s description of the photographic artist in his book The Unforeseen Wilderness. The book, tag-teamed with photographs by Ralph Eugene Meatyard, focused on the need to protect the Red River Gorge as wilderness in a time when it was under the threat of being dammed and flooded.
Of the photographic artist’s journey, Berry writes, “It is an endless quest, for it is going nowhere in terms of space and time, but only drawing deeper into the presence, and into the mystery, of what is underfoot and overhead and all around. Its grace is the grace of knowing that our consciousness and the light are always arriving in the world together.”
This series of photographs is my attempt to draw “deeper into the presence” of this intricate place. The grids of images are my attempts to catalog the density and diversity of textures found on these rock walls. The individual rectangles are captured in camera separately, then arranged digitally and printed as a single image.
— Michael Winters, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Wind is a photographic project that examines and documents the burgeoning infrastructure for producing wind energy in the United States. A dramatic surge in construction of massive wind farms, small commercial applications, and emerging residential use of energy generating wind turbines, is creating changes in the landscape in profound ways. Whether viewing the high-density installations engaging the landscape like gigantic sculptural interventions, or the smaller commercial and residential fixtures that speak of practicality and environmental concerns, the turbines inevitably ask us to re-address our visual experience of the landscape. These dramatic symbols of renewable resources and green technology vividly evidence the hand of man on the landscape in a way not seen since the massive post World War II infrastructure development.
— Bryan Steiff, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Using the camera as a tool for recording sites, my intention is create documents that can serve as a collection or archive of places, as well as question the ways in which we experience landscape.
For this project, I attempt to de-centralize the tourist’s gaze on the city by traveling along the perimeter of Montreal Island, photographing the shores while looking outwards. While I escape to the outer edges, towards the horizon, the built environment remains in view. I observe that shores of the island are part nature and part culture.
Akin to a pilgrim following an endless trajectory, I used the camera as way to engage in discovery and contemplation. Installed on all four walls of a gallery, these large-scale images place the viewer in a re-contextualized island, eventually simulating my own photographic experience.
— Jessica Auer, Montreal, Canada
This project uses photography to document my text interventions on roadside marquee signs. The work addresses the effect of media and technology upon human desire.
I place phrases on movie and motel marquee signs, many of which I find through research but also in the course of my frequent long distance travel by car. I use my own sign letters, installing them while filming the placing of the phrases and then leaving the scene with words left intact upon the sign. Afterward I make my photograph of the finished sign from the sidewalk or roadside, shooting from the vantage point of the driver or pedestrian. I use a large format camera and make large-scale color prints as documents of the sign in its environment. The photograph becomes the sole remnant of the project as the signs inevitably disappear or are taken down.
In its brief existence, each sign installation is read by an audience comprised mostly of people in cars or by roadside foot traffic. The experience of the viewer seeing the work in the context of the outside world of roads, signs and billboards is important to me. I am interested in viewers encountering my work in spaces they expect to see advertising or propaganda. The text phrases are the voice of an individual, deliberately personal yet sounding mysteriously familiar through the fragmented vernacular used within the spectacle of advertising. I use language that references aspirations toward contentment and fulfillment linked to promises of desire and romance provided by the realm of commodity and entertainment. My texts are formulated to read as regurgitations of that, as though they are public diary entries pertaining to banal realities of self and relationships based on comparison with an ideal.
— Victoria Crayhon, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
I have been working in UK forests for the past four years, making a number of bodies of work which explore the complex interrelationship between the landscape and the individual. Our understanding of landscape can be seen as a construction in which layers of meaning that reflect our own cultural preoccupations and anxieties obscure the reality of the land, veiling it, and transforming the natural world into an idealization.
UK forests have been shaped by human processes over thousands of years and include ancient woodlands and timber plantations. As such, the forest represents the confluence of nature and culture, of natural landscape and human activity. Forests are potent symbols in folklore, fairy tale and myth, places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery. In recent cultural history they have come to be associated with psychological states relating to the unconscious.
Against this cultural backdrop my work explores the fabricated nature of landscape by making a variety of temporary and non-invasive interventions in the forest, which place the viewer in the gap between reality and fantasy. Creating this space encourages the viewer to re-evaluate the way in which their relationship with the landscape is formed, and the extent to which it is a product of cultural heritage or personal experience.
The forest becomes a studio, forming a backdrop to contextualize the work, so that each piece draws on its location, a golden tree introduced into a thicket shimmers in the darkness, painted paths snake through the undergrowth, and strands of wool are woven between trees mirroring colours and formal elements within the space.
These altered landscapes operate on a number of levels. They are a reflection of my personal relationship with the forest, a meditation on universal themes relating to the psyche, and call into question the concept of landscape as a social and cultural construct.
— Ellie Davies, London, United Kingdom
Through my fractured imagery I explore the influence of memories and perception on the state of the environment. The images create a venue for social commentary and the population’s “collective” memory.
Everyone views the world from their personal perspective, seeing their environment in a unique way. Any two people will recall different images of the same scene or event. My images serve as a metaphor to those landscapes seen by many eyes and varying recollections. The fragmented pieces of our communal memory of an event are presented as they are truly experienced by the population in multiple frames, viewpoints, and perspectives.
The fractured imagery reminds us of the limitations of film-based capture and the limitations of our memories. We cannot capture a complete moment of time with a photograph, just as we can never remember a complete moment of time accurately. Humans can only remember bits and pieces of a moment, and as time moves on biases and changed perspectives cloud that vision.
— Mark L. Eshbaugh, Westford, Massachusetts, USA
It was in late winter when I stayed in a small village called Meji. Everything was frozen and set down so quietly. This place was surrounded by mountains, valleys and small, cultivated lands. At that time, I was overwhelmed by the cumulated pressure from a personal transition. I sort of felt released by the rural tranquility. Every day I strolled down a path though a forest and I walked over cropped and burnt fields. Sometimes I stood still on the frosted desolate land in the early morning. The silence of these moments brought me to face the inner self.
I was staring at straw laying down here and there. Pulled and snapped straw was scattered atop ashes. Their ocher bodies contrasted against the black field. Thin reeds and bare branches on the slope of cultivated field were tangled with them. The images of these agitated scenes soaked into myself and resonated. The strokes of straw slashed my mind. It hurt, so I took them.
— Goseong Choi, Brooklyn, New York, USA
My work exists at an intersection between art and science. With childlike curiosity, I examine the world with the determination of an explorer and the the eye of a scientist, studying and recording my wanderings.
I seek the strange, liminal spaces devoid of their inhabitants, but not without evidence of their presence. From remote architectural structures, to sites of construction and destruction, I investigate those areas on the periphery of our daily awareness. A solo explorer in the solitude of night, I photograph as a collector of raw materials; shadows, textures, light, and color.
— Beau Comeaux, Troy, New York, USA