The Land and That Which Lives on It: Contemporary Photography and the Curious Nature of Our Planet
Environmental stewardship requires a reasonable appreciation for the environment: the land and that which lives on it. Traditional methods inspiring protection include education, immersion, and art. The earliest representations of humankind and its relation to nature are cave paintings in France of animals and human figures. Landscapes appear in more recent times in frescoes and paintings. Photography, almost from its inception, features the natural world: they are inevitably linked.
This survey of contemporary photographers’ take on landscapes and nature shows a preference for alternative rather than traditional practices. This alternative emphasis is seen in the photographic process used to capture and create the image: such as Catherine Aboumrad’s hours-long exposures; Robert Dash’s use of electron microscopy; or Alyssa Salomon’s infra-red, night-time photographs. It is also seen in the alternative process used to make the print: Rachel Girard Reisert’s cyanotypes; Tim Freeman’s gum-bichromate prints; or Christa Blackwood and Max Kellenberger’s photogravures. These artists represent what they see in nature in a new or re-interpreted light. This is understood in the subtlety, complexity, and emotive atmospheres of their images.
Our planet is a curious place. Contemporary photographers respond with distinctive, if not idiosyncratic, landscape and nature photographs that surprise and delight the viewer. Hopefully one outcome of these types of photographic endeavors is a greater appreciation of our environment and a renewed commitment to good stewardship.
An accompanying Community Gallery exhibition, Trail Cameras Project: Hunting the Unexpected, features trail camera art from Badin, Butler Tech SOA, Hamilton and Oak Hills High Schools, November 19, 2022–January 6, 2023.
Artists: Catherine Aboumrad, Anne Berry, Christa Blackwood, Robert Dash, Tim Freeman, Max Kellenberger, Susan Patrice, Rachel Girard Reisert, Kemachat Sirichanvimol
Curator: Kent Krugh
Anne Berry, Baboon, 2013. Gelatin silver print, 22 x 22 inches. Courtesy of the artist
Catherine Aboumrad, Untitled, 2009. Archival pigment print, 40 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the artist
Rachel Girard Reisert, Genesis, 2015. Cyanotype on kozo paper, 72 x 84 inches. Courtesy of the artist