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
Although I have always felt a strong affinity to the land, I never purposefully made art about nature. Nonetheless, as a farmer I began to find ways to incorporate daily chores into my art, and the more I worked the land, a new appreciation formed.
My ongoing series of photographs titled Candescent Fields is as much about farming practices as it is modernist painting. Initially, my intention in photographing the annual grass-seed field burnings in Oregon’s Willamette Valley was to document the whole process, from the logistics of starting the fires to the regeneration of the blackened fields.
I was continually struck by the rich textures and contrasting tones created by the blaze and billowing smoke juxtaposed with the surrounding untouched fields. Public outcry has initiated restrictions on the practice, and farmers see this as a threat to their livelihood. I appreciate both perspectives, yet was motivated by the stark beauty of the fire and its aftermath.
— Patrick Collier, Stayton, Oregon, USA
Patrick Shanahan’s photographs of Britain and Europe investigate the contemporary cultural landscape, offering a seductive and unsettling re-imaging of modern urban environments.
Making full use of the scenographic, artificial aspects of large-scale photography, Patrick produces topographic images that are close to the kinds of minimalism found in painting and sculpture.
His largely unpopulated compositions are subjected to a pristine finish and treatment of light, colour and space that help to establish a tension between a real and constructed landscape – a landscape in which the distinction between reality and imagination seems to blur and we are left with a peculiar sense of spatial estrangement.
— Patrick Shanahan