Landscapes | Rob Carter
Rob Carter is a photographer and video artist born in Worcester in 1976 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Carter’s work uses stop-motion animation, time-lapse video and large format photographs to spotlight iconic and political structures in our urban environment, especially sports stadia, skyscrapers, churches, and other historical landmarks.
As he describes his work:
My videos and photographs examine paper as both a physical object and a malleable document of time. The imagery often relies on theatrical manipulation or illusion, but uses these mechanisms in order to inform or expand the meaning or reading of the imagery, rather than to fool the viewer’s sense of what is real. My recent work employs video animation and photographic ‘re-constructions’ that use the theatricality of architecture and landscape as a platform to spotlight the iconic and political structures of sports stadia.
Cut photographic images and living plants are used to make often humorous retellings of history – morphing and recontextualizing architecture and urban development. Recent work draws parallels between the inspiration and power of the natural world, and human attempts to understand, manipulate and control it in the past, present and future.
This photo-work called Landscaping II [below] is formed by large-scale photographs, where Rob Carter documents the growth of plants as they emerge from manipulated photographic imagery. The primary scene is a dual image of Burghley House in England, and The Coeur d’Alene golf resort in Idaho (USA), with sections cutout to literally reveal the soil below:
Over the course of two months these combined scenes were repeatedly photographed, revealing the growth and subsequent interference of the plants with the landscape, as they gradually knit the two scenes together:
The premise comes from the human desire for interaction and control over the landscape, in terms of art, entertainment and sport. The chosen locations compare the English Stately Home and 18th century landscape gardening of ‘Capability’ Brown, with 20th Century golf course design; specifically Scott Miller’s unique floating green, on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Both designs were essentially a sanitization and beautification of the landscape for the wealthy to enjoy, and they both require intensive attention for nature to remain contained and orderly. The six photographs describe a return to the wilderness, where the plants dwarf the landscape, and take over the image itself.