I made these photographs in New Orleans the summer of 2018 during my pilgrimage to see Lee Friedlander’s work at the New Orleans Museum of Art. I am drawn to color, space, geometry, and perspective. I strive to have these elements working in tandem in photographs. Additionally, I like to underscore the ephemeral nature of the everyday scenes before us. A photograph is a recording of time, but that image may no longer be present when we view the photograph. Buildings crumble; water fades paint. The title for this series of images is New Orleans.
— John Kinney, Alexandria, Virginia, USA
What interest me most are not specific buildings or landmarks, but the lived experiences of the people who interact with them. The built environment has an essential role in shaping a particular society or culture.
The growth of global populations has led to rapid urbanization and the emergence of megacities. The challenges that societies face in adapting to rapid change – both socially and environmentally, but also philosophically and psychologically – is what drives my interest in this dynamic field.
Our “developed” cities are increasingly homogenous spaces. It’s become hard to differentiate one central business district of an urban centre from another. Consumerism, fast entertainment, fast food and multinational corporations are often what underpin our notions of progress.
Nonetheless, hyper-globalization has enabled the rapid sharing of information and ideas around the globe, as well as making transportation more accessible.
I am fascinated with modernity and its environmental and social consequences.
Ultimately, it is the visual nuances that can be found between locations rich and poor, natural and manmade, past and present, that, if you look closely enough, offer an insight into what it means to be a human on this rapidly-changing planet. A book about this work will soon be published by Black Dog Press.
— Ryan Koopmans, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Looking Out, a project in progress, continues my exploration of the way in which modern technology and machinery are often seen as disruptive of “nature” as a retreat from the urban environment. Obvious examples that attract “our” disapproval are structures such as pylons, cell-phone masts and wind turbines. These (from one perspective at least) tend to be regarded as a blight when found in otherwise “untainted” countryside.
The structures in this series are associated with detection. The radars and telescopes in the work look out from their rural location. The notion of an escape to the countryside is always at odds with a desire to maintain some distance, to objectify and see the non-urban from a subjective vantage point.
As landscapes, these images offer some resistance to this kind of mastery. On the one hand, they gaze out with authority to places beyond our human eye capability. On the other, they collapse into a trope of Picturesque charm. Technology is only disruptive of idealised “nature” when its associations are with contemporary life. Technology with a patina of age has the potential to be absorbed into the bucolic.
Even in the case of the functioning radars and radio telescopes, in their countryside setting they begin to remind us of a certain sub-genre of British science fiction; and as such they too begin to invite a nostalgic desire for the past. In a way, these images represent a tussle between our desire to maintain our ocular advantage (and see the landscape in a way that serves our needs) and our preparedness to give ground and relinquish our self-affirming vantage point.
— Roger Hopgood, Hastings, United Kingdom