A thousand years ago the inhabitants of the mountain valleys of the Andes painstakingly transformed the landscape, sculpting terraces out of the mountainsides and turning marginal land into productive fields. The population boomed and the surplus from these crops formed the economic basis of the Wari and Inca empires.
Since the turn of the 20th century, a vast migration from the countryside to the cities has taken place. Small capitals have transformed into metropoles. The settlements of these new inhabitants sprawl into the hills and nearby mountains.
Mountain fields like stairways of stone is a handmade artist book with black and white photographs exploring these landscapes; the ancient rural and the modern urban. The book draws visual parallels between the practice of hillside crop terracing and the more recent phenomenon of massive and informal urban development. I am interested in exploring both the continuities and disruptions in human alternations to the landscape as written on the land in South America.
— Thomas Locke Hobbs, Los Angeles
In this series titled Driftless in Wisconsin, my intentions are both to document land and space in my home state and to attempt to define the word “driftless,” taking it in its literal sense: to be unmoving and unchanging.
With the geology of The Driftless Area as a backdrop, these images display a sense of permanence of the commonplace. Images include scenes of abandoned artifacts and structures, of people in recreation, and scenes that appear to be fixtures.
This series began with a westward weekend drive soon after moving to Madison, Wisconsin. I became immediately caught up and amazed by the landscape. After learning that this landscape held the poetic name of The Driftless Area (an area of land that escaped glaciation in the last glacial period), I became engrossed. This discovery coincided with myself, after much time spent moving around, finally becoming content with where I lived — in a sense, becoming driftless.
— Paul Yurkovich, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Shades of The Departed
On the afternoon of March 11th, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake — Japan’s most powerful in recorded history — struck the Tohoku region near the northeast coast of Honshu. Tens of thousands of people lost their lives due to the tsunami triggered by the quake, and the exact number of the missing may never be known.
After visiting Iwate prefecture in June, on a photo assignment for The New York Times Magazine, I decided to extend my trip. I wanted to visit my great uncle, who lives in the small fishing town of Shimofuro in Aomori Prefecture to the north, and to stop at Osore-zan (Mt. Osore) along the way.
Mt. Osore is one of Japan’s three holy mountains, and people believe that the dead go to this mountain (O-yama) to make their way to the afterlife. Since childhood, they have been told to stay away, for it is also believed that this active volcano marks the entrance to Hell; many live with an ingrained fear of it, even as adults. This is a place where people go to console the souls of the dead, especially those who died at an early age; some believe it to be the place where you can meet the souls of your departed ancestors and loved ones. Having seen the disaster areas in Iwate prefecture, I felt that I had cause to visit Mt. Osore.
As I walked through a rocky stretch where a strong sulfurous odor hangs above the shoreline, I started hearing screeching noises in the distance that sounded like metal scraping on metal, “Skreeyk… skreeyk… skreeyk…”
— Takahiro Kaneyama, New York City
“Bad faith” is a concept in existentialist philosophy coined by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir describing the habit people have of deceiving themselves into thinking that they do not have the freedom to make choices for fear of the potential consequences of making a choice. Commonly it is understood to mislead or deceive another.
It’s a term that I’ve borrowed to contain a body of photographic work that comes out of recent experiences produced by the volatile relationship I have with my family. In the past year, I’ve spent most of my time between the places I live (Los Angeles and New York City), and the places I’ve traveled to during this ordeal with them (Southern and Central Florida). I’ve created a kind of visual landscape narrative that expresses the tensions inherent in coming to terms with the sadness and longing at end of my parents’ lives when the history of those relationships are filled with abuse, untruths and mental illness.
Landscape photography is a contemplation of the photographer’s relationship to place and experience. The images in Bad Faith are exactly this, but instead of being open and expansive as traditional landscape photography can be, they are narrowly focused to underscore the diminishment that comes as a byproduct of emotional distress. Bad Faith is 30 years in the making, and while not all of that time was spent with this project and its objectives in mind, the emotional landscape that created it was.
— Lorena Turner, New York & Los Angeles