Like a mirage floating on the desert floor, the Salton Sea’s ethereal beauty belies the trouble beneath its still, reflective surface. The sea itself is emblematic of some of the worst outcomes of human intervention, and as such, may also present opportunities for some of our most dramatic and creative solutions.
Cuba’s history is visible everywhere, written on the land in words and images: on billboards and signs, on public buildings and homes, painted onto rocks and spelled out in whitewashed pebbles in the red earth. One is steeped in the events of the past, and the land and its people testify to their bearing on the present and the future.
When my aging mother came to live with us in New Hampshire, I began making photographs of my family in much the same way we had when I was a child. I wanted to capture these ordinary moments again, and the intense, fleeting beauty of the tiny realm that nurtures and sustains us.
“By some chance, here they are, all on this earth; and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening, among the sounds of the night.” –James Agee
No Ordinary Land is a collaborative project with artist Laura McPhee begun in 1987. In our pictures, we looked at areas as remote and geologically youthful as Iceland and as densely populated and industrially developed as New Jersey. In between, we made pictures in Sri Lanka, Italy, Costa Rica and Hawaii. Our work is about human inventiveness in shaping the elements both physically and metaphorically as we strive to represent multiple possibilities for reading landscape.
The Country Between Us is a collaborative project with artist Laura McPhee that followed the publication of No Ordinary Land. We concentrated on the richness and diversity of America, continuing to explore the reciprocal ways we relate to our environment and the implications of our actions upon the places we inhabit.