from the series Power of Place: America on Vacation
As technology has propagated ubiquitous digital images, the aesthetic and cultural barriers separating artistic, commercial, and leisure image- making have been challenged in new ways. The Power of Place: America on Vacation examines the conceptual and aesthetic frames of traditional landscape photography, vacation imagery, and the consumerist-centered experience of contemporary leisure. Tourism and travel symbolize a contemporary American paradox: exploration and individualism mediated through curated experiences designed for mass audiences.
While on vacation, tourists document their experiences and the places they visit using the medium of photography, transforming the photograph into the visual equivalent of memory. Often motivated by an idealized mythology that includes landscape artists, patriotic iconography, and pop-culture imagery, tourists in America photograph their experience of historical sites, natural wonders, theme parks, cities, gambling venues and other vacation areas.
The inherent technical values of photography, the ability to collect and frame visual information in detail, have served both tourists and landscape artists. While consumer and artistic motivations and processes have traditionally been regimented, technical advances, emerging cultural patterns, and the accessibility of visual imagery has blurred such established distinctions as art/commerce, subjective/objective, and professional/armature.
By applying the aesthetics of landscape photography to the subject matter typical of tourist photographs in contemporary America, The Power of Place: America on Vacation captures representations of these ingrained vacation experiences, reinterpreting these images to raise questions about experience, art, and consumerism.