Constructed Landscapes (1997 – 2001)
By combining the precise detailing of photographic realism with the extravagant exaggeration of the still life, my photographs navigate the border between nature and artifice in order to explore my interest in the human presence in the environment.
I am fascinated with the tensions inherent in a "wilderness" that is circumscribed, managed, and manipulated by humans. Therefore, for several years, I have been photographing the landscape of national parks and nature preserves in the Southwestern United States and Central America. I create my artwork by projecting these photographic images of the protected landscapes onto assemblages of natural history specimens taken from their environment. I then rephotograph this assemblage with a view camera to produce an image of a newly created imaginary landscape. Rather than approach these managed natural spaces from a documentary perspective, these constructed photographs employ a personal, expressive stance to explore the anxiety inherent in contemporary culture as we confront new scientific possibilities of manipulating our environment.
By mirroring the creative possibilities of the current biotechnological juncture, still life becomes a particularly apt form of expression. Absent of traces of tragic sentiment or nostalgia, these images are meant to explore, like expeditionary photographers of the 19th century, the possibilities and menace of this unfamiliar and uncharted territory.