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.
Swirling clouds of black, white and grey smoke overwhelm the frame in Kevin Cooley’s Controlled Burns. Deeply inspired by the smoke signals used by the Vatican during the papal conclave, he tried to replicate the formula for the black and white smoke that spouts from the chimney when a new pope is elected.