Quiet now, don’t disturb the herd of…cheese puffs? Photographer Jason DeMarte throws us for a loop with his series Nature Preserve, an exploratory mash-up of the natural world and the consumer environment of contemporary society. The series is made up of digital composites combining images of fabricated and artificial flora and fauna with commercially produced and processed products—hence the Cheetos, sugary donuts, and flowery bouquet action here. His representation of nature with bizarre, unnatural elements “speaks metaphorically and symbolically of our mental separation from what is ‘real’ and compares this with the consumer world we surround ourselves with as a consequence. Ultimately this work is an investigation into the manipulation of truth,” DeMarte says.
Photographer Brendan Austin’s Paper Mountains are situated on the border of reality and fiction, blurring the lines between photograph and nature. Each mountain is in fact a printed photograph of a mountain, worked and crumpled to replicate the peaks and shadows of the American West Coast, New Zealand , and Iceland. Austin’s mountains, protruding against blank whiteness or extending to the corners of the frame, are simultaneously false images of the landscape and the landscape itself. Existing as both the subject and the means of representing that subject, they question the reliability of the photographic medium to capture truth without contest.