As cities expand and take over an ever-increasing amount of the surrounding landscape, the subdivisions that are farthest out represent the boundary that is now the new frontier. With their labyrinths of endlessly curved streets and too-closely spaced drab houses with postage-stamp lawns, these developments are pumped out one after another. Join Evan Anderman on his aerial exploration of a number of the suburbs of the Denver-metro area.
The Eastern Plains of Colorado is a sparsely populated region that is subject to a diverse mix of land use. A large part is given over to raising crops or grazing cattle, which if not carefully managed, can decimate the land. Beyond that, the energy business, which until recently was a small presence in the area, has been expanding rapidly, encroaching on or even overlaying the agricultural spaces. It is still unclear if the three can co-exist and how these changing dynamics will impact the land(scape).
These issues are often overlooked by people who don't live in Eastern Colorado, and this exhibition series Con-Form-ation provides a visual record of how these changes are altering the Eastern Plains.
Energy production leaves scars on the Western Landscape that most people cannot see. Coal trains and bobbing oil pumps romanticize the West, marking its vastness, and people grow immune to seeing any negative effect they have on the landscape. My aerial photography endeavors to bring into focus the difficult to see wide-spread elements of the carbon economy. For example, the way that mountains of coal are produced from sprawling open pits, moved by train, offloaded into piles and fed into power plants. Or the expansive pads that are required for oil production, gouging elaborate patterns into the fragile prairie. As William Ewing states in Landmark: “difficult images need to have an asthetic component to get through to us.” From the air I strive to find the beauty of geometry and form that lies within the destruction. It is my intention that this work will be aesthetic and engaging, thereby sparking a conversation about how our demand for cheap fossil fuel shapes our future on the planet.
I seek to challenge our understanding of the relationship between human development and the natural world by documenting the way we use the land.
As a geologist, when I fly over the high plains of eastern Colorado, I look at the many, overlapping layers and how the land has been modified by a combination of processes, both natural and manmade. The lowest layer, the land itself, has been created over literally millions of years and forms the foundation. Draped on top of that is what mankind has imposed in various ways; activities and structure that are collectively called “progress.” While my main interest is the subtle beauty of the landscape itself, I also like to tease out what man has done with that land, and make the viewer wonder what is going on and why. The images are fundamentally aesthetic, but leave you questioning the subject matter.
I have chosen to concentrate on the Eastern plains of Colorado because their subtle beauty illustrates global tensions on a local scale. They are sparsely populated regions of Colorado that are subject to a diverse mix of land use. Vast expanses are given over to raising crops or grazing cattle, which if not carefully managed can decimate the landscape. The newest layer is the energy business, which until recently had only a small presence in the area. But it has been expanding rapidly, encroaching on or even overlaying the agricultural spaces. It is yet unclear if they can all co-exist and how these changing dynamics will impact the land(scape).
Evan Anderman is a social-landscape photographer based in his hometown of Denver, Colorado who shoots mostly from his airplane. In his youth Anderman spent a great deal of time in the mountains and plains of Colorado and the Western United States. This love of the land eventually led Anderman to pursue the earth sciences as a career and he obtained several degrees in Geological Engineering. After working nearly two decades in the field, Anderman took his love for the landscape and pursued his passion for photography to become a full-time artist in 2005.
Anderman is especially attracted to less-traveled, and often barren, areas such as Eastern Colorado, the high deserts and forests of the Western United States, Antarctica, Iceland and the Arctic. He finds peace in the solitude that these places offer, and is empowered to rise to the challenge of portraying these landscapes with optimism.
In November of 2013 Anderman was honored for his unique environmental photography by being awarded the inaugural Photo District News Duggal Image Maker Award at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York City.
Anderman’s work can be found in the Denver Art Museum collection and in several private collections as well. In addition to exhibiting in his own gallery, Anderman’s work has been exhibited at the American Mountaineering Center, Denver International Airport, Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery, The Denver Art Museum, Niza Knoll Gallery, and Robischon Gallery all in Denver, CO, and Lamont Gallery in Exeter, NH.
Click on any of the thumbnail images to launch the viewer. You can then navigate forward and backward within the portfolio by clicking the left or right side of the enlarged image. Click the add to collection checkbox to automatically add an image to your collection. Image tags or search engine keywords appear below the collections' checkbox and each word or phrase is a link to potentially more image matches.