Planet Earth

NOVEMBER 13 – DECEMBER 11, 2021

Throughout the history of photography, artists have explored the vast terrains of our planet Earth, building a profound pictorial legacy on our collective understanding of the natural world. Photography can capture worlds we know and those we don’t, recording the planet’s diverse and dynamic topography. The mystery and grandeur of the natural environment, coupled with the photographer’s poetic capacity to capture the landscape’s arresting scenery, ultimately showcases the planet’s myriad dimensions and infinite beauty. Stephen WilkesAndre Lichtenberg, Francesca PiquerasNick Brandt, and Brett Weston’s works detail our natural world, from stunning visual panoramas to abstracted, massive landforms. These photographs record the Earth’s fascinating geography as well as the grandeur and scale of the environment.

Throughout the history of photography, artists have explored the vast terrains of our planet, building a profound pictorial legacy on our collective understanding of the natural world. Photography can capture worlds we know and those we don’t, recording the planet’s diverse and dynamic topography. The mystery and grandeur of the natural environment, coupled with the photographer’s poetic capacity to capture the landscape’s arresting scenery, ultimately showcases the planet’s myriad dimensions and infinite beauty. Stephen Wilkes, Andre Lichtenberg, Francesca Piqueras, Nick Brandt, and Brett Weston’s works detail our natural world, from stunning visual panoramas to abstracted, massive landforms. These photographs record the Earth’s fascinating geography as well as the grandeur and scale of the environment.

Stephen Wilkes is one of the most original, contemporary photographers on the international scene. His art practice challenges ideas of time and space by painstakingly creating composite panoramic photographs that transcend the frozen moment of a traditional picture. Wilkes’s cutting-edge methodology began after being commissioned as a still photographer for Romeo + Juliet in 1996. After figuring out how to shoot a panoramic shot in a tight, closed space, Wilkes came upon a discovery that helped him develop a new way of seeing the passage of time. He achieved this by collaging many photographs to create one single image. The photographer spends up to 30 hours perched at least 50 feet in the air for his renowned series Day to Night. While high above the ground, Wilkes shoots over a thousand frames from the same vantage point to preserve a location from morning to nighttime in the same image. Stephen Wilkes’s photographs transcend time and create a novel way to see the landscape. For Wilkes, a photograph is a pictorial record of a day in the life of an environment.

Andre Lichtenberg creates an abstract and elaborate linear tableau of skyscapes that presents the unique architecture of various cities. Lichtenberg effectively knits dozens of small detail shots together, like a puzzle, creating a final composite photograph. Part of his abstraction involves inverting the colors of the cityscape, offering a rare opportunity to view the city anew. Lichtenberg’s images are analogous to an exercise in memory and akin to the meticulous discipline of a draftsman, rediscovering the character of a town while examining the nooks and crannies of every building’s elevation, roof, and city street. Andre Lichtenberg reimagines the city, dusting off the familiar sights of the picturesque sunny urban environment to present a fresh take on the cityscape genre, one gathered from the annals of memory and the individual spirit of a place. His photographs are generally long exposure nighttime captures of a location, patiently knit together to create a composite dream-like image.

Francesca Piqueras’s photographs capture the influence of humanity on the landscape. Her images present the calculated transformation of the environment. From cut jagged, snow-covered mountains in Italy and waves crests at the fore of oil rigs in South America to massive bursts of water swelling through dams in China, Piqueras aims to capture the complex visual testament of man shaping nature. Piqueras references the Anthropocene, our current geological era, and human behavior’s vast impact on our ecology. The industrial activity captured by Piqueras offers a disparate view of economic pursuits, the extractive nature of these processes, and the resulting aftermath on Earth’s natural topography. Finally, Francesca Piqueras’s body of work serves a purpose. Like a photographic essay, her pictures document the physical transmutation of organic matter for economic purposes and their resultant, discarded forms. Like the stranded husk of a cargo vessel abandoned on the shores of Patagonia, this form, initially made by extracting organic materials from the Earth, is now swallowed by the sea. This natural cycle of construction and decay is central to Piqueras aesthetic inquiry, a poetic quandary on the effects of economic progress and industrialization. Her photographs ultimately deal with the reciprocal nature of our ambition to harness the environment and its ability to transform and break down our attempts to control it.

Nick Brandt is an English artist whose photographic themes have revolved around conservation in Africa, mainly the imminent peril and disappearance of natural wildlife. For the past two decades, Brandt has been ahead of the curve in his philosophy and photography, recording the last of Africa’s imperiled environment. He has created a body of work that underlines the critical need for conservation efforts. Through his early trilogy of photographic series, Brandt established a style of portrait photography of animals in the wild that helps to emit a sense of empathy. These photographs link the viewer to the animals as living, sentient beings, not so different from us. In his latest series, Inherit the Dust and This Empty World, Brandt creates complex pictures that evaluate the landscape and the disappearance of animals from their natural habitats. Ultimately, Brandt makes a profound and moving body of work that preserves nature’s majestic creatures. The pictures remind us that our lives depend on a delicate balance between an existence that respects the natural world and that shows the danger of a short-sighted growth that puts our immediate needs ahead of the larger ecosystem.

Brett Weston is one of the leading photographers of the 20th century. He is known primarily for his bold compositions based on Western landscapes and natural forms and his extraordinary printing style. Brett Weston was among a small group of influential California photographers in the 1930s, known as the Group f/64 that included photographic legends like Ansel Adams and Brett’s father, Edward Weston. Brett began taking pictures as a teenager in Mexico in the 1920s while living there with his father. Surrounded by some of the best international artists of the time like Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and Tina Modotti, Brett Weston began to craft a unique vision.  The literalness of what he photographed had strong, abstract compositional forms. With time, Brett became one of the first photographers to use negative space effectively. Using the camera to transform landscapes and expound the creative potential of contrasts using blacks and whites, Brett studied the formal components of photography. He reduced his subjects to studies of lightness and darkness, composition, and form. By his late teens, Brett participated in the exhibition “Film und Foto,” granting him international recognition to establish an illustrious career spanning five decades.