Wounds of Time:
Beauty and Despair in an Altered Landscape
Evan Anderman’s aerial photographs of the American Southwest are provocative. At first glance they appear to be beautiful images of landscapes, shot from above, composed of intriguing, even whimsical, lines, shapes and colors. One could infer that the farmers operating the tractors and combines that draw these curvy, looping lines across the landscape have a sense of humor—and perhaps they do.
Yet, his images of industrial scale farms, feedlots, fracking sites, wildfire burn areas, Minuteman missile launch sites and military maneuver zones invite introspection about the impact—and long-term consequences—of human activity upon the landscape.
Most think of the Southwestern US landscape as wide-open and untouched. Yet, Anderman’s images reveal that this is a grave misconception. Nearly every square foot of land as far as the eye can see has been indelibly marked by human engineering projects, vehicles and industrial operations.
Anderman’s photographs document accelerating human activity. Future archeologists won’t need to dig far to find the artifacts of 20th and 21st Century human presence, even in the most remote corners of the American Southwest—the evidence is obvious, everywhere and overwhelming. Of course, human activity doesn’t just mark the surface of the earth, but has an impact on the atmosphere, and beneath the surface as well, in the form of depleted aquifers and polluted ground water…