Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jeff Rich Continues to Have a Year to Remember as a Photographer

In the last year, Savannah-based photographer  Jeff Rich has had work in numerous shows, has won major prizes including the Critical Mass Book Publication Prize and the Magenta Flash Foward Emerging Photographer Prize, and now he's in One One Thousand with the second portfolio of his work documenting the landscape of the watersheds that make up the southeastern quarter of the Mississippi River Basin. 

This portfolio is called Watershed: Chapter II - The Tennessee River. It attends to the complex situation of a system of rivers that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) tries to control and harness for the abatement of flooding, navigation on the rivers, economic development, and finally electric power production. 

Jeff 's landscapes are about the relationship between the natural and the human, unlike the older, Ansel Adams--inspired school of landscape photography that took as a basic principle the exclusion of signs of "the hand of man," of human habitation. 

I will never forget when I learned that the natural -- exclusive of the human -- was a human construct, that, for example, when creating the Great Smokey Mountains National Park the Park Service did not simply fence in a vast wilderness but in fact had to move people off the land whose natural beauty they sought to preserve. They in fact created the wilderness, not simply preserve it. 

Jeff photographs the natural world as most of us experience it today, acknowledging that bridges and power lines and and human beings are as much a part of a landscape as the rocks, trees, and water. 

Jeff has a strong ethical element in his work, supporting responsible and sustainable human presence in the natural environment. He has a strong sense of light and composition. I'm intrigued by the way in which he engages human and built elements with water and trees and and other physical elements of the land into his images.

I'm glad he's been listed for some time now as a Southern Photographer We Watch Out For. In his work and in his career there's a lot to see.

No comments:

Post a Comment