Allison Grant | Unsoiled
The photographs in my ongoing series Unsoiled are constructed scenes of idealized nature that have varying degrees of illusion and artifice. Original images are taken from familiar sources including Flickr, Wikipedia, television, print media, art posters, and screen-savers, and then reinterpreted through my addition of disposable plastics, houseplants, yard waste, and other found materials. The images and objects that I use to construct the photographs serve as relics from daily life that recall the ways in which we try to control nature, or imagine it to be.
The materials that I place in my pictures simultaneously enhance and interrupt the romanticized “natural” settings represented in the appropriated images that I work with. I use artifice as a way to question the authenticity of a common type of nature photography that can be found throughout our image culture. This imagery emphasizes the pretty and panoramic rather than the harsh and hostile aspects of the natural world.
Though I have chosen to address nature using a particular set of cultural conventions, I think of my photographs as metaphors for a broader contemporary experience of the natural world. This experience is, in practice, immeasurably complex and entwined in human affairs, but is routinely simplified and romanticized through in mass. The process of diminishing natural systems to a pleasant, manufactured set of characteristics downgrades and ignores the nearly unmanageable environmental circumstances humanity is now facing. At a moment when it appears that our human-made objects and waste products may outlast nature as we know it, my work focuses on tensions between fact and facsimile, nature and artificiality, and permanence and disposability that can be applied to ongoing questions about the shifting role of humanity within the balance of nature.