Cette montagne c’est moi
In January 2006 I started to photograph slag heaps in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland and Wales. These mountains are the visual remnants of the coal mining industry. In Europe these black pyramids are the symbols of a vanishing era that began with the industrial revolution and has now evolved into an age dominated by binary code.
For this project I reformulated the 19th-century technique of carbon printing. From every mountain I photographed I took some coal, milled it into a pigment which I used to print the negatives. Various shades of browns and blacks reflect the specific constitution of the slag heaps. The almost uniform shapes of these landscapes are translated into a highly individual approach. In this work object and subject, mountain and photograph, have become one. The photographs show us the socio-political reality of the last 100 years. They reflect the changing relationship between man and his environment in such a way that mind and matter are closely tight together.
— Witho Worms, Amsterdam, Netherlands
In 2010, I began an exploration of the intersection between photography and classical Chinese landscape painting, with the Homage to Ni Zhan and Bada Shanren series. In the Wasque Series, which was taken at Wasque Beach on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts, I extend this exploration. If classical Chinese painters ground their work in the style of a previous artist, I seek to ground my new work on my previous series, but also to evolve its style and technique while remaining true to my original sensibilities.
As in the original series, this new series’ sensibility continues to be grounded in the 13th century landscape painter Ni Zhan, who is known for his spare style of thin ink work, and in the 17th century painter Bada Shanren, who is known for his impressionistic style and unsettling compositions. In these images, I continue to over-exposure, aiming to capture the backbone of the landscape. Yet, unlike the work of Ni Zhan and Bada Shanren and my earlier 2010 series, I have introduced color. In this manner, I continue to explore the intersection of photography and Chinese landscape painting by having introduced elements of the Tang Dynasty (7th C. -– 10th C CE) court painters in this new body of work, where color is used in a limited fashion.
— Jeffrey Yuan, Plainsboro, New Jersey, USA
Nothing to Write Home About is an intimate reflection through photographs, exploring the narratives of the people and the places where I grew up. In this work I am trying to question the fragile and uncertain future of working class families living in Trivero and the surrounding villages in the region of Piedmont, Italy. It is a meditation on the notion or idea of home, in contrast to how it is commonly represented.
Life in such a rural village, in the countryside, now appears to offer very little to this community. The economic collapse of the wool industries which provided the main source of income for the majority of families resident in Trivero has taken its toll. The younger generation experiences great difficulty coping with this economic reality and their increasing sense of insecurity has manifested in forms of self-destructive behaviour and an inability to make decisions.
This unstable situation is also a narrative thread for the surrounding landscape: the increasing emptiness of the territory, turning houses and factories into derelict ruins which function as reminders of past prosperity. Photographing the rural landscape is a way to tell the story of these people and to underline how human intervention has shaped the valley where they are living.
— Francesco Taurisano, Dublin, Ireland
Landscape, understood as an indissoluble part of what we are, is essential in all my work: reinterpretation of nature in a global and hyper-technical present. Landscape interests me not only from an ecological reading, as the experience of inhabiting the universe, space whose annihilation is our own self-destruction, but also, and above all, the return to nature as a political legitimation of the Human, as a simple and powerful revolution.
Landscape is an element that we dispossess but men want to dominate it. Longing for open spaces to re-establish continuity with nature. Landscapes in which nature and men are confronted, but where, at the same time, an ecstatic reaction occurs between them. Between man and nature there is a metaphysical tension.
There is a deep personal desire to improve the immediate present to alleviate a characteristic material dissatisfaction. Here, individual feelings become universal. In my work there is no experimentation, but experience. They are images captured in moments of visual release, a kind of exaltation of desire. Poetic-scientific seizure of the world, use of a “sensible reason.” Search the “Poetic Image” understood “sudden highlight of the psyche ” (Gaston Bachelard).
My photography is halfway through documentary, fantastic and experimentation. I photograph reality to make it to go beyond reality but through itself, without tricks or interventions. This is why I like to investigate my subconscious and liberate it when I take pictures.
— Carla Andrade, Vigo, Spain
I continue to be fascinated by the magnificence of light and how it affects the complex shapes and colors of our human-made and natural world. I find the act of observing with persistent and intense attention to detail inspirational. This experience creates a state of mind, however temporal, that allows me to find hope and meaning in the physical beauty that is our external world. Through my photographs, I wish to share that simple pleasure with others.
— Don McKenna, St. Louis, Missouri, USA