Processed Views

Although a previous post that embraced the sculptural qualities of food had a far more lighthearted intent, the juxtaposition of Carleton Watkins’ classic photographs and Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman’s irreverent dioramas has to be viewed with a certain level of irony. The iconic photos of America’s great national parks brought a sense of the country’s vastness home.

The pioneering nineteenth-century landscape photographer Carleton Watkins visited Yosemite during a time of rapid industrialization in the American West, but you’d never know it from the majestic tranquility of the rivers, mountains, forests, and rock faces he depicted. In her book “River of Shadows,” Rebecca Solnit, chronicling the life of another influential photographer of the time, Eadweard Muybridge, whose studies of high-speed movement helped to pioneer motion-picture technology, wrote that Watkins’s landscapes “looked like the true world everyone sought but no one else could locate among the mining booms, railroad building, land grabs, mobs, and murders” of the period. And yet Watkins’s images—which provided many people back East their first views of Yosemite’s idyllic splendor—were, in some sense, an advertisement for the possibilities of the West, and the vast untapped resources that American corporations of the eighteen-sixties and seventies were rushing to exploit.

For their project “Processed Views,” which is currently on view in the exhibit “Changing Circumstances” at the FotoFest 2016 Biennial, the collaborators Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman have produced cheeky dioramas that pull Watkins’s iconic images brashly into the industrial modern world. Using all manner of highly processed foods…

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Click here for a full view.

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