La Plata County, CO
A bit of explanation – the last few images I’ve posted have been part of a new series of wildland/urban contact, and just urban life built on top of what were recently wildlands. I spend lots of time photographing landscapes free from humans and the scars we leave on our landscape to sustain our way of life. Lately I’ve been interested in exploring more deeply the relationship we have with the land – how we make it work as we do. This is far easier to do from the air, removing the horizon as context. This new work interests me as much as the pretty landscapes, if not more at the moment. This is an old idea in photography, but a relatively new idea in our society, launched with the seminal exhibition “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape” at George Eastman House in 1975, the year of my birth. This ground has already been well-plowed by masters like Lewis Baltz and Robert Adams, but we keep on scraping away at what was once wild. We are lucky in the west to still have room to do so, and my work seeks to document nature’s displacement and to engage the viewer in contemplation. This is my take on the now almost 40-year-old re-interpretation of landscape photography.
We all use fossil fuels, roads and highways, and we all and make our mark on the land, whether intentionally or just as a consequence of our lives. But what are the implications for the wildlands we love so much? This waste pit and nodding donkey helps power the internet on which you’re viewing the image, and its mark is graceful in its own way. But must we take every single opportunity to dominate the landscape where these resources are present? We’re well on our way. These images are not overt political commentary, just my exploration. My goal with this series is to probe the tension our actions create between nature and the built environment.
Riding the line from Durango, CO, 2/24/2015
click image for full size version
© Tim Peterson, all rights reserved worldwide