My innate curiosity about the ecological and social history of specific places drives my photographic practice. I strive to foster awareness of environmental change by engaging viewers in unexpected visual hypotheses, offering novel lenses through which to consider the impact of human activity on our surroundings, both locally and on a larger scale.

My work titled is a series of long-exposure photographic images of sculptural structures I build on-site in specific landscapes. I construct these tableaux by immersing myself in a given place, researching and instinctively reading the terrain, and then marking the site using foreign materials (LED lights, luminescent substances, and other physical processes) to emphasize and call attention to environmental blight. In the final prints, lights and sculptural alterations appear as intrusions.

Conceptually the work is situated at the intersection of land art, staged photography, and minimalist sculpture. Using shapes, lines, light, geometry and especially color, my photographs reflect human disturbances, metaphorically suggesting how society divides and surveys landscapes or how humans force their will on the natural environment. By imposing flat and abrasive color (or light) onto a site, my photographic work contrasts human interference with the visually rich, wide tonal range of a natural landscape’s ambient hues. Throughout these scenes, I encourage the viewer to reflect upon land use, and the many ways humans have cultivated and propagandized the land to fit their needs.

—Barry Underwood


Editor’s Note: Barry Underwood’s evocative series was selected as a finalist in this year’s LensCulture Art Photography Awards. You can check out the other Winners, Juror’s Picks and Finalists here!