Stitching the Human back into the Fabric of the Earth*

“The Anthropocene has meant not a new image of the world, but rather a radical change in the conditions of visuality and the subsequent transformation of the world into images. These developments have had epistemological as well as phenomenological consequences: while images now participate in forming worlds, they have become forms of thought constituting a new kind of knowledge—one that is grounded in visual communication, and thereby dependent on perception, demanding the development of the optical mind.”  

  • Irmgard Emmelhainz writing in Conditions of Visuality Under the Anthropocene and Images of the Anthropocene to Come

Responding to the central tenet of the Anthropocene, that human activity has permanently altered and reconfigured the geological condition of earth, I employ a mix of imagery that stems from photographing in, and subsequently altering the image of protected spaces.  I use images that range from explicitly representational to nearing abstraction to simultaneously question both the current concept of nature, and the role of photography in shaping that perception. By photographing in places with invisible narratives, both ecological and historical, I consider the pristine aura as presented to me, the visitor, an illusion of sorts. A dune may appear natural but is maintained by moving sand to the top by the truckload. A state park may be closed to inhabitation and named after the colonialists who killed the original people who paradoxically lived there.

I use the current photographic tools, digital filters, brushes and algorithms to create images that range in their readability, taking a viewer from a place that may seem familiar, to a place that may seem to fall apart or devolve into chaos. The technological treatment of the image of the pristine place mimics the impact of human progress on nature writ large. Unpredictable, disjointed and aberrated compositions result. Collectively, the images begin to form a new possible vision of the idea of nature.

*Excerpted from Tema Milstein’s Environmental Communication Theories