Infrastructure as art object.

February 11, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Just as a fine meal is only as good as the calories, proteins, and fats contained within it's ingredients, I believe the best photography is that which is useful beyond it's visual content. I endeavor, in a humble and moderate way, to follow in the footsteps of Jacob Riis, John James Audubon, and Sebastião Salgado in compiling a body of work that causes, catalyzes, or defines a necessary mental or physical change within a society. Like the meal, a useful photo should contain fuel: content designed or chosen to ignite and propel action. That content is different for every photographer and every viewer – the fuel that keeps my engine burning is the opportunity to alter the viewer's observational skills. 

One of my regular roles as a photographer is the outside observer: since I have a personal tendency to avoid crowded spaces and commonly traveled paths, I also get to see uncommon sights. In my photography, this usually manifests in images of infrastructure as an art object. I enjoy placing purely functional structures on the same pedestal as finely designed architecture. To my mind, function is the purest design – frills and modifications for visual effect can only dilute the purpose and decrease the effectiveness of a system. The usual towering buildings and landscaped parks carefully erected to catch the eye and encourage visual interaction? These don't interest me, and I afford them only a passing glance.

City of Missoula Wastewater Treatment Plant, Missoula Montana.

My gaze lingers on bare concrete barriers, the undersides of highway overpasses, canals, storm drains, conduit, pipes, mechanical and industrial installations of all type and caliber. I see the lines, planes, and tubes that literally connect each of us to all others, all underground, underfoot, and under appreciated. By elevating these shapes and voids through the processes of photography, I hope to encourage a viewer to do the same every day, during the course of their normal perambulations. A modified worldview is the greatest reward a photographer can receive from a consumer. That goal outlines the recipe I want to use to cook my photographic meal, and the resulting dish should be as beautiful as a Hiroshi Sugimoto print and as nourishing as a Richard Mosse book.

MacDonald Pass, near Helena, Montana.


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