Into the Anthropocene

In 2016, those who determine such things officially agreed the Earth had entered a new age in its evolution. Termed the Anthropocene, it is defined as human-influenced, where human activity has caused irreversible changes to climate, ocean and landform. Anthropocene supplants the Holocene that began at the end of the last ice age about 11,000 years ago. Our new Earth Age is the starting point for this series of pictures that seeks to explore vast man-altered landscapes. I am both concerned and curious how repercussions from this turning point are impacting our earth, and feel a need to address it in an ongoing way.

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Agriculture - The Palouse
To begin my exploration, I traveled to the Palouse grasslands - now wheat fields - of eastern Washington to immerse myself in a landscape terraformed and overlaid by commerce since before the dawn of the Anthropocene (actual starting point TBD). By highlighting this region, I hope to bring attention to difficult choices we face when considering exploitation or preservation of ecosystems.

The topography of the region was embellished by pattern and design across its surface - all byproducts of efficient farming required by constraints of the rolling terrain. It seemed a visual dance - or was it a struggle - between human imposed order and natural growth cycles, an imposition and collaboration at the same time. What was revealed I found compelling - strangely alien but completely human. By allowing human intervention to speak over the landscape itself in my images, I imagine a new landscape more of its Age.

 

 
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 Energy - Ivanpah Thermal Solar Plant

Coming over the rise through Nipton, California on Highway 164 into the Ivanpah Valley, the Ivanpah Thermal Solar Power Plant came into view. Like a vision from Tolkien's Mordor, three towers, glowing ominously, rise above the surrounding desert on a gentle slope. The towers are surrounded on all sides by mirror arrays, known as heliostats, that reflect the sunlight onto the central towers.

It is not an easy thing to make the desert here look small, but at 35,000 acres on leased BLM land, the sprawling plant caused a disorienting effect on my senses as my mind struggled to fit it into proper scale. It is the largest solar plant of its kind in the world and generates 377-megawats that provide electricity to 140,000 homes. I was interested in exploring the effect this large facility had on my perception of the natural landscape. As world populations and demand for energy increase, formerly untouched natural landscapes and ecosystems will continue to be disturbed or destroyed.

 

 

Energy - Bisbee/Asarco Pit Mines

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Statement to  come.

 

 

Energy - Oilton Oilfield/Palm Springs Widmills

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Statement to come.

 

 

Water - Owens Lake

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Statement to come.