I began the NATURE/CULTURE Project in 2008. During the ten years span of this experience I’ve been making digital color photographs of landscapes, places and objects in spaces shared by the natural landscape and built environment as I found it along the American roadside.
While traveling the open road I deliberately avoided the familiar iconic locations one often visits while on vacation. The places I photographed were discovered by chance, often along rural or state highways, with no particular destination in mind.
Although The NATURE/CULTURE Project photographs are of places void of people, I believe a human trace is visible in each picture and, with this in mind, I see my images of these spaces as social landscapes.
It is precisely the absence of people along with a sense of their presence, as seen in the marks, changes and artifacts left in the environment, I now find most fascinating.
I hope my images of these “shared spaces” capture and hold the attention of viewers, inspire curiosity and invite multiple readings. In some photographs one encounters a place dominated by abandoned elements of the built landscape and notice the forces of nature have begun a slow process of reclamation by decay and transformation. In other situations one might find juxtapositions that clash and jar our sensibilities. Along the way sights evoking a sense of irony or humor appear out o nowhere … then suddenly we encounter a bit of serendipity … a scene unexpectedly revealing a balanced and harmonious coexistence between the built and natural elements.
As this project evolved during the ten years I have been making these photographs it largely remained an open body of work on the broad theme. Only recently, as I began to edit the full body of work, did I realize there are distinct sub-topics emerging. Themes such as: Infrastructure / industry/ agriculture / energy – are quite literal and descriptive; while others such as: signs and symbols / weather and time / outside inside – are more lyrical.
Together, I feel these thematic groupings add nuance and richness to the project narrative, informing and offering a framework for the planning for my exhibition: Shared Spaces.
While heading off on the open road to make these photographs I deliberately avoided visiting familiar iconic destinations. Instead, I travelled with an eye toward discovering places along the way where the built environment merged with the natural landscape. Although…
This brief video excerpt offers a sense of the form, content and mood found in the full 15 minute looping video montage / soundscape titled – NO PLACE IN PARTICULAR – which, is described below:
No Place in Particular is a video montage and soundscape which explores spaces shared by the natural and built landscape. It is intended to be a mixed media meditation on time, space and mobility. Each primary photographic image is a place found where the natural landscape and the built environment intersect. While no human presence is seen in these images the trace of human endeavor is evident and, in some way, alters and redefines the natural setting. As the sequence of places seen move forward in time the evolving transient imagery between the still places reveals ephemeral scenes that are not fixed, do not actually exist …. they reveal a “geography of nowhere”.
These visual interludes are designed to evoke a sense of elastic time and fluid space. The soundscape is meant to create an ambient audio experience complimenting the visual journey by juxtaposing sounds from nature with sounds from human activity with the intent of expanding the viewers notion of place, enhancing the sensation of movement and inviting one to enter an ever-changing landscape that exists only in the minds-eye.
A video sketchbook presentation offering background about an exhibition project titled, SHARED SPACES which, is being created from The Nature/Culture Project.