searching in the shadowlands

During the 1980s I spent 5-6 years photographing in the industrial wastelands of Northern New Jersey. I was obsessed with going into these harsh, ruined environments to make images of abandonment and corrosion that represented human estrangement from the natural world. My fascination had begun in childhood growing up in New England near 19th century warehouses and mills where women and men had worked tirelessly with technologies developed to harness Nature in the name of progress.  More than 20 years later I began re-examining those sharp black-and-white images and found myself looking beyond the precise details of the photos, moving into a vague dreamlike landscape that retained ghostly silver traces of what once existed. A mythic terrain had been revealed. A world behind a world had been exposed. Revisiting and re-imaging the photographs has given them a different objective. I am using the older photographs to create a different body of topographic work, obscured, murky and stained with a blood-reddish rust-colored tone. Perhaps I had been searching for this shadowland all along, this mythic world beneath the detailed surfaces of rivers and wetlands and bridges and factories. The dark new images offer access to that Other territory. Do these erasures of civilization mean a reclamation of archaic origins?

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