“Take Refuge” explores human presence and human intervention in the landscape, ranging from rudimentary actions—like building fires, marking a path in a snowy landscape, and taking shelter in caves—to more sophisticated circumstances, such as a very powerful scientific laser beam piercing into the night sky.

The Classical forces of nature—earth, fire, wind, and water—are presented here in contention with one another or against a human figure. This alludes to our physical and psychological attempts to understand our position in the universe and our obsession with exploring, conquering, and ultimately controlling it.

—Kevin Cooley

If you’d like to see more of Cooley’s work, you can take a look at his personal website or Instagram.

If you enjoyed this article, we’d also recommend the following previous features: Threads, a series of photographs modified with delicate embroidery that meditates on our relationship with nature; Plastic Utopia, beautiful images of human waste within nature that highlight—and problematize—our undeniable impact on the environment; and Urban Sprawl: Emptiness, photographs that explore the vastness of America’s midwest.