Saturday, November 1, 2008

Daniel Everett's Departure

Daniel Everett's series Departure is part of the burgeoning tradition within contemporary photography that focuses on the exploration of the alienating, utilitarian landscape. These anonymous, often formless spaces, when depicted in photographs, begin to negate the time and social space that they are a part of. This is largely because the functions of these spaces is obscured by their anonymity. Everett's images bring to mind Robert Smithson's theory of sites and non-sites. Many of the spaces in these photographs strike me as non-sites. Seemingly artificial and ambiguous constructs which juxtapose sites that provide authenticity and context.

Everett's photographs are both beautiful and unnerving. The authoritarianism of these spaces, however, exert upon the images a kind of ahistorical cynicism. David Giles, in his essay Camera Vacua, notes: "By selecting especially generic spaces and relegating historical cues to the perceptual and emotional perimeter, the photographer constructs an image that obviates this usual act of remembering." This is the same sensation, or lack there of, that Everett's photographs produce. This lack of history gives one the feeling that these utilitarian spaces have reached an aesthetic plateau in which any difference will increasingly become harder to discern.

All photographs from the series Departure

All Images © Daniel Everett