Emmet Gowin’s topographical photographs are characterized by a sense of exploration, namely through landscape imagery of the United States and Europe taken from a plane. Exploring iconic geologic features, Gowin uses aerial photography to capture abstract patterns and formations that are suggestive of the earth’s beginnings, toeing the line between the real and the surreal. In Mining Exploration, Utah, Gowin’s camera captures what the artist calls a “working landscape” – a landscape caught in tension between the long-term evolution of the earth and the hand of the human being that seeks to alter its processes. “Even in destroying the earth,” he says, “we have to observe the natural order. Gravity still works, water still runs downhill.” Gowin is meticulous about the developing and printing of his photographs, often using various techniques to manipulate delicate tonal variations.
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