Women have made tremendous progress over the past century in terms of their political rights, roles in society, and with health issues. There is still a long and winding road ahead, though, to full and equal treatment and to the elimination of outright abuse--in some countries and cultures more than others. Interpret these as you like, although the titles will certainly clarify what was on my mind. These are all "found"images, that is, single photographs of tattered posters, or crowded graffiti, or illusory reflections, all framed thoughtfully to provoke the chosen narrative. [2017 NOTE: the #MeToo movement seems to have made a lot of this work even more relevant these days.]
Robert Adams, in his Colorado Front Range documentary work of the tract home building boom of the 1960s and 1970s, has already done this. (See his book, The New West.) However, after nearly 50 years, perhaps it is time to revisit the topic given continued population growth (locally and world-wide), the effects of global warming and ocean acidification, wildlife habitat loss, extended drought and lowering water tables, and so on. How far can we push Mother Nature before she pushes back? Phoenix, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas, are two other places where I have lived and witnessed the busy-bee bulldozers laying the scraped-dirt foundation for virtually unlimited suburban expansion...and, sadly, I am seeing Scene 1, Take 2 here in Colorado as well. (Although, thankfully, some communities have now recognized the importance of "open space" and parks for both the livelihood of humans and the well-being of the wild flora and fauna.) I suppose everyone wants to have their 1/16th of an acre of grass and their one-hour commute to work--the American Dream? Is it not possible, though, to slowly evolve our notions of how best to live on this Earth? Perhaps a new paradigm that values high density communities (with the resulting less costly transportation, health, and energy infrastructure) surrounded by wide open spaces for both agriculture and wildlife? In these images, the storm clouds that often appear in the sky or on the distant horizon, the glimpses of untouched Nature in the background, and the occasional American flag are not there by accident.
The metropolis of Barcelona--our base camp in Catalunya for the foreseeable future. You could spend a lifetime within its confines creating images of its people, architecture, festivals, parades and color. Picasso, Dalí, Gaudí, Miró, Serrat, Pau Casals--it is a city with a lively art tradition and with enough museums to keep you occupied for many months, if not years. I am always inspired to create when we travel there.
I have always been an outdoors person, so capturing everything from wide-open landscapes to intimate natural details or abstracts is one of my favorite photographic activities. I tend to prefer monochrome versions of my images as color can often distract from what I consider the critical elements of composition, form, shape, tone and--most especially--mood.
With this portfolio I tried to depict the alienation and isolation inherent in a city of this size, despite the fact that the humans who live and work there are in such close and constant physical contact. Along with alienation and isolation, other emotions and ideas I tried to capture (some contradictory) were... immensity, propaganda (advertising), dehumanization, superhumanization (ego), beauty, engineering brilliance, nature's absence, repetition, compartmentalization, separation, entrapment, dreams, consumerism, violence, work, and so on.
All except two images were captured with a telephoto lens in order to compress the perspective and isolate details. All, with a few exceptions, are monochrome images.
We wonder when our society will become the Orwellian world of 1984, but with the ubiquitous use of doublespeak in politics, government, and advertising, and the ever increasing and extreme social, economic, and political inequality of this Second Gilded Age, maybe we already have. [NOTE: Prophetic statement, this last, given the extreme propaganda, manipulated news, fake news, and outright lies associated with the 2016 election cycle and the current American President. Orwellian doublespeak, and the resultant easy manipulation of the emotionally charged and increasingly uninformed/uneducated masses, has most definitely arrived.]
For me, the goal here was to just play around--and, perhaps, to challenge the viewer's preconceived notion of the appearance and meaning of NYC's skyscrapers. Sometimes the images are anchored, sometimes they float in space...always they will suggest a different, alien, world above the crowded streets. Native New Yorkers will likely enjoy identifying the structures. I have paired the color version with a monochrome counterpart although, in this series, I actually prefer color. How about you?
Even though "A Parking Lot" is a photo essay in which I explore the hidden surrealities I found beneath my feet at a local hospital, it could have been created from any decaying surface anywhere--these parallel universes exist in all of them if you squint just right and then twist the right half of your brain a bit. The discerning observer of such places (kids especially!) will easily encounter all manner of figures, forms, shapes, and characters. All of these images were created within a two-hour period in January of 2012 at the Mapleton annex to the Boulder Community Hospital in Colorado. This asphalt lot has since been repaired and the hospital has moved, so most of the figures and characters I found there are now, very regrettably, deceased.
It sustains life as we know it on this planet. Do you take it for granted as you leave the spigot running unnecessarily? Spending many of my younger years in the deserts of Arizona, I have come to really appreciate water in its myriad flowing, slowing, churning, gurgling, and hurtling forms.
"Ice" is an exploration of the normally unseen fantasy land that exists for a few months of winter within local Colorado creeks and ponds--a strange world filled with mythical creatures, ice castles, distorted faces, bizarre forms, and landscapes. What you see is limited only by your imagination. Also, and more significantly, as time goes on these ice images have begun to take on a deeper meaning as the effects of global warming have become more apparent everywhere, including the extended drought we are experiencing along the Front Range.
I always notice aircraft in the sky. Maybe it is the ex-aviator in me wishing I wasn't so "ex"? Flying at Flight Level Three-Nine-Oh, sometimes the only evidence is a pathway of vapor arcing through the troposphere. Present, that is, with the right humidity level. Their source, of course: long aluminum tubes arrowing along at .8 Mach, filled with the murmur of human voices, dreams and expectations...punctuated by the clink of ice cubes dropping into plastic cups and the blast flush of the aero-toilet. Even in the deepest wilderness area, these human-filled metal sausages are constantly visible.
All photographs on this website (unless otherwise indicated) were created by and are the property of Daniel R. Joder and may not be used for any purpose without permission. Most of the images you will find here are available for license or purchase. If you are interested in using one of my images for your website, or if you would like a print, please contact me directly (See the Contact tab).