Archive for landscape photography

Minescape at FORMAT

Posted in Minescape, Personal with tags , , , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by brettvanort

Just a few days to go before my project, Minescape, shows at FORMAT festival in Derby.  I’ve delivered the work to the Silk Mill Museum and the work should be hung at this point.  One show down and one more to go.  I’ve settled on a framer at this point for my London show and the work should be completed before I go to Derby for the preview date; March 3, 2011.

Forest-Trebevic © Brett Van Ort

Whether or not I’m happy with the framing for the London show will remain to be seen until then.  I’m a bit anxious having to find another place to frame the work, as the design and function of the frames are intergal to the final product.

I’ve been asked by the curator of my show at FORMAT to display instructions on how to operate the frames.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to with hold myself from doing, i.e. explaining to the audience how to interact with the work, but the general consensus from the people at FORMAT is that a brief set of instructions is necessary.  I always felt that if the frames aren’t operated, then the audience “walks” into these fields not knowing what lies beneath.  However, the majority of those at FORMAT feel the entirety of the work must be seen.

You can follow this link here to see my page on the FORMAT website.

Also, FYI, I will be delivering a talk in Derby on my work on March 23 from 2pm.  Info is available here.

I’ll be speaking about the project and how a painting by Fredrich Edwin Church and the destruction of my family farm in Tennessee influenced my thoughts and ideas about the project.

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Jim Naughten

Posted in Other Photographers with tags , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2010 by brettvanort

While I was in New York I went to DUMBO and checked out the galleries there.  At Klompching gallery there was a show of Jim Naughten’s work.  I was immediately struck by the tanks and equipment on a white background.

© Jim Naughten

Then I was hit by his battlefield re-enactments.

© Jim Naughten

I had to control myself!  The work is stunning and has a wonderfully unified look to it.  Surreal desaturated colors contrary to the heavy, thick colors that predominate the few slide film exposures of the actual time period.

At first I felt somewhat disheartened, but I managed to get a grip and ask Debra Klomp Ching, who was there how Naughten managed to achieve his tank shots.  Surely not in a studio like the rest of his portraits…

© Jim Naughten

She said Naughten took the tank shots in the field and cut them out with some heavy post work.   I couldn’t help myself but had to give her a postcard of one of the PROM mines I shot for my Minescape project.

I walked away somewhat perplexed.  Does this work infringe on my Imaginary Battlefield series I’m working on right now?  Certainly it is in the same vain but after a couple of days and speaking to some other people about the work I’m more certain that my work, is still in the genre but has it’s own voice.  Or at least I feel it does…

Whatever the case, Naughten’s project is fantastic and it’s wonderful work to see in person.  And now I have something to think about when working on my own project…

AP26

Posted in Minescape, Personal with tags , , , , , , on May 10, 2010 by brettvanort

Four pictures from my Minescape series were selected to be included in the American Photography 26.  I’m overwhelmed by the names of some of the other photographers that I will be included with.  I could go on and on with the names but I’ll post a link and have you take a look if you wish.

AP26 Selected.

Pond-Majevica Range. One of my images selected for the book.

There is a release party in New York on November 11th.  I will definitely be there as I run the gauntlet of agencies and editors in the city.  Time will tell if it will be a successful trip.  I’m sure it will get the butterflies going in the stomach!!!!  YES!

Water

Posted in Hopi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2010 by brettvanort

Anyone for 18 before I want to melt in the sun?

Water in the desert southwest.  There has always been little to begin with.  Now there is more but also there is less.  Some of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century created a foundation for the establishment of Phoenix, AZ, Las Vegas, NV, Los Angeles, CA and countless other smaller towns and cities in a region that should by all means be relatively uninhabited.

Page, Arizona, the leaping off point for recreation galore.  Nearby is the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area where Lake Powell is located.  80 miles from the heart of Hopi by the way the crow flies are golf, water skiing, boating, and boozing.

The dam that creates Lake Powell.

Most of these leisure activities exist because of the dam that was created in 1966.  The Colorado river is held here to generate 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of energy per year.  There are ultimate failings with the dam though, and not only because of the water being held back to the Colorado and Little Colorado that run through Navajo and Hopi territory to the south.

The dam has a large amount of risk associated with it, most notably the build up of silt and sediment from the Navajo sandstone that ring the reservoir and line the cliffs that the Colorado has carved over the millenium.  The silt and sediment slowly fills Lake Powell, reducing its capacity.  The lifespan of the dam at this point is by some estimated at 85 to 100 years at which point the breaching of the dam would cause a megatsunami downstream that would crest Hoover dam by over 200 feet.  Because of these risks associated with the dam and the resulting Lake Powell the project was termed “America’s most regretted environmental mistake,” at its completion by the then executive director of the Sierra Club David Brower.

Navajo Generating Station

A few miles outside of Page is another power plant that uses the water from Lake Powell to cool its turbines which allow it to function in the midst of a desert.  The Navajo Generating Station produces 16.5 billion KW per year and releases 19.9 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.  The energy produced by the plant serves over 3 million homes every year in the desert southwest.  The plant also employs nearly 600 Navajo workers when you combine the efforts of those at the Keynata Mine where the coal is mined for use at the plant.  Because of this and the lack well paid jobs in Navajo country, the plant and mine are a slippery slope for those in the Native community to talk about.  In one respect it produces high paid, skilled jobs.  But in another it is digging into the heart of country that to many Native Americans in the region consider sacred.  Talking to Native Americans about this is virtually impossible as an outsider.  On so many occasions I was told that this issue and others involving mining  or energy production are “very sensitive” to the Hopi.

The Navajo Generating Station at Dawn. Navajo Mountain can be seen to the left of the smokstacks, seemingly emerging from the cooling towers.

The Navajo plant began producing power in 1975.  As part of its development the plant required the construction and hanging of nearly 800 miles of 500 kilovolt lines so generated power could reach its intended target of Phoenix, Ariz0na.  Also interesting is how the turbines at Navajo are cooled.  As Lake Powell is a reservoir in a sense without a flow or current to it, the Navajo plant does not expel its waste water back into the body it originated from like most plants situated on a river or coastline.  When this usually happens it will raise the water temperature of that body of water.  In some cases, on the Hudson river, during summer time when flows are lower,  the temperature will raise 24ºF or 13ºC in the vicinity of the plants and down river from them.  How this impacts the ecosystem in that vicinity is hardly seen as it mostly occurs underwater.  But imagine the effect is has on fish and other wildlife in the area.  The Navajo plant, on the other hand, uses cooling towers to disapate the heat generated but in doing so about 30,000 acre feet of water per year evaporates in an area where water is already precious and to the Hopi, considered sacred.

Tomorrow, I’ll look at the mine on Black Mesa.  To both the Hopi and Navajo a place considered sacred.

Lake Powell

Posted in Hopi with tags , , , , , , , on January 20, 2010 by brettvanort

Water and sand but do you call this a beach?

I know I was supposed to keep more in tune with stuff and post more this year.  It was a New Years resolution but it’s still hard to do sometimes.  I’ll talk a little more in depth about Lake Powell and my time there this summer in a little bit…thinking about other things though now.

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