Enclosures, Badlands and Borders
These photographs examine the existence of “The Sublime” in the western post-industrial landscape. They explore how these terrains posses a physical and intellectual exclusivity for a general observer and how they , due to the nature of the industries that create and maintain them, have a built-in obsolescence and I hope the production of these images has not only extended my own understanding of the evolution and topography of these landscapes,. In the foreseeable future most of these places will no longer exist in their present form, due to shifts in global economies, changing labour forces, a “greener” awareness in society and the emergence of new technologies in industry. This may be one of the few intentional records that documents not only their existence, but also the strange uniqueness of these disappearing environments.
These images have essentially grown out of a long interest in the representation of man-altered landscapes, especially those produced by the new topographic school in America, such as Edward Ruscha’s “Twenty-six Gasoline Stations“ (1962), the work of Henry Wessel and the Bechers, and subsequently the work of Joel Sternfeld and J. Bennet Fitts. Although my concerns for the landscape are different, I hope the images I have produced will have the same critical eye and sense of objectivity as these earlier works whilst containing other layers of meaning that are both personal, political and to a degree anthropological. In the tradition of the new topographic photographers, there is a sense in which this work could be viewed as a criticism of the industrial west and it’s destruction of the environment but ultimately the images are intended as a benign consideration of places that are “of their time” and that time has now, effectively, run out. Ultimately, I see the work as a return to a “classic landscape” containing not only elements of the sublime but also modern references relating to the decline of manufacturing and industry in the post-industrial west.