The Majestic Oak, Majestic Oaks Housing ComplexAt more than three hundred years old, this tree stands as a sentinel, witness to centuries of development and change. The tree’s intrepid strength as a living organism aside, the “Majestic Oak” still stands today for one reason: its aesthetic characteristics, without which, the tree would most definitely have fallen the way of the forest once surrounding it. The Majestic Oak survives as a reminder of a decision made long ago to preserve a specific aesthetic.

Second Nature

Project Statement

As a culture, we catalog, construct, and curate nature to better appreciate and understand our surroundings. We collect, manicure, domesticate, and manufacture the natural world as a means of preparation for display and consumption. This aestheticization creates mediation, as genuine experience is replaced by manufactured ones. As we consume nature while driving a winding mountain road, by looking out our window, through walks in the park, or by attending zoos or botanical gardens, our experiences are filtered through a series of cultural choices made well before we arrived.

Eventually these choices created a perpetuation; one aesthetic choice begets another, begets another, slowly defining a subconscious vision of what nature is. Only the chosen are experienced. Thus, only the chosen can be remembered. 

Within Second Nature, I am exploring our complex relationship with nature through a lens of perception, representation, and interaction. Like our culture, I am cataloging, collecting, constructing, and curating these experiences through photography. I am interested in how expectations are formed in relation to “nature” or “the natural world,” and how with each new iteration these representations become increasingly displaced from their original contexts. The following collection of images serves as a catalog of these mediated experiences from the familiar to the farcical.

Shot with a large format camera, these images are processed and manipulated to embody an aesthetic found in today’s media. I often employ digital manipulation or compositing of multiple negatives to create a “more perfect” rendering of the scene, referential to the decided “nature” each photograph represents.