Wetlands_ process

My work is concerned with the experience of landscape and environment, how disparate narratives are layered onto the spaces we inhabit, how photographic and imaging technologies mediate that experience. For the wetlands series, I build dioramas in my studio and photograph them, seeking to explore shared cultural memory regarding landscape.

In order to examine American landscape, I focus on what it is not. I scrutinize the spaces where the building blocks of the landscape idea — a sense of place, natural order, memory — are mixed up and mis-placed. I explore areas that occupy the periphery of our vision—the corners of vacant lots, fringes of alleyways, edges of parking areas or the base of a cyclone fence—where ephemera and detritus accumulate.

In Wetlands I reproduce these settings using organisms and species that would not exist together naturally, including specimens from grocery store floral displays as well as various native and invasive species. In order to capture and preserve as much detail as possible, I photograph these dioramas with a large format film camera. These images have not been digitally altered in any way.

These dioramas present a monumental view of a very small arena, and imply that the trash-choked margins of our urban experience might be the threshold of a new “nature.” The natural environment that is imaged here has it’s roots in photographic and narrative histories, as well as the ragged edges of our contemporary experience.

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