The following five photographs depict arctic seasides (and Antarctic shorelines?), and were taken by Richard Misrach last year and this year.* They are reminiscent of Misrash’s earlier “desert” photographs although man’s imprint on arctic seasides (and Antarctic shorelines) has been becoming clearer only over the last few years, while humankind has been impacting the deserts for eons.
Misrach’s Homepage at artnet’s Artist Works Catalogues contains a quotation from him about his pre-1990’s desert photographs which also applies to his arctic/Antarctic photographs below.
“As interesting and provocative as…cultural geography might be, the desert may serve as the backdrop for the problematic relationship between man and the environment. The human struggle, the successes and failures, the use and abuse, both noble and foolish, are readily apparent in the desert. Symbols and relationships seem to arise that stand for the human condition itself. It is a simple, if almost incomprehensible equation: the world is as terrible as it is beautiful, but when you look more closely, it is as beautiful as it is terrible. We must maintain constant vigilance, to protect the world from ourselves, and to embrace the world as it exists.
--Richard Misrach, Desert Cantos (University of New Mexico Press, 1987)”**