Artist's Statement

Brooks Dierdorff

My work pursues ideas related to photography, ecology, and landscape. I am interested in examining how photography intersects with cultural narratives about the environment ranging from the history of Utopian landscapes to future projections of environmental collapse. My work takes these narratives as points of departure in image-based installations that draw attention to the ways that we perceive and relate to the natural world.

At a time when images are increasingly becoming detached from the contexts in which they were created, I feel it a crucial and necessary act to draw attention to the context within which images are seen, and the visible and invisible platforms, institutions, and commercial entities that support their viewing. Since 2011, the majority or the world’s population is urban, and by 2030 one in seven people will live in cities. The human impacts of this on the environment, and new relationships with the environment, are evident everywhere yet in many our available models for visualizing and understanding them are very abstract. At the same time, we live in an image-saturated world where digital technologies make it possible to produce and view images at an unprecedented scale. Most images of nature have become empty signifiers yet are nonetheless ever-present in daily life.

With this in mind my exhibitions often take the form of installations. In staging a physical encounter with the image, I am attempting to highlight the image’s materiality and activate the viewer’s awareness of these materials and of their own processes of moving in, around, and through the work. At its core, my work investigates the hidden structures of power that support representations of nature and questions the photograph’s hold on how we perceive and interact with the world around us.