What Is the Vernacular Landscape?
By observing the ordinary built environment, you begin to see into the relationship that humans have with the land. How does the land affect human interaction with it and how does the human perspective shape how the land is built upon, changed and managed? How does the built environment in turn shape the human? To understand the vernacular landscape, you must really look at everything that a place and its inhabitants are expressing- from the geology, resources, climate and materials, to history, industry, commerce, recreation and way of life. Often times, you can view them by simply observing the most ordinary scenes. Art gives us the freedom to take both, the conclusions that are universally agreed upon and understood and the ones we draw on our own, with us as navigate our understanding of the world around us. For me, picturing the built environment and archiving the images is the clearest way that I can participate in this process.
Perhaps the greatest lesson in understanding impermanence is that life and death are not linear, and that they are actually simultaneous in existence. We're literally living and dying at the same time, as is everything around us. This experience can be felt when we observe the obsoleting of technologies and tools, notice our evolving methods of consumption, consumption trends and habits thereof, and see the disappearance of our physical forms of community and main streets with the accelerated pace of change. American disposition is a view of objects in rural space as they are, alive and dying, current and expired, disposable and non-disposable. Simply there in the state of, amidst birth and death, gain and loss, joy and sorrow, contemporary and obsolete. I'm currently shooting exclusively from the Rust Belt regions of Upstate New York on medium format.
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