Jonathan Long Statement


Artist Statement
In the 1940s, no environmental laws protected Southern Illinois from coal miners who cleared forests, dug up the earth and changed the entire landscape without regard to the impact on water, air or life. The Pre-Law Wastelands panoramas focus on these historic strip-mine lands and the scars that remain.

In photographing these Pre-Law sites, it is my intention to remind the viewer how things were before the Clean Air act, the Clean Water act and other environmental protections were enacted. These legislative milestones have stopped similar environmental destruction from continuing. Current political leaders are trying to repeal these laws and other environmental safeguards causing my photography to become more urgent. Through my installations I create a reminder of why such regulations should continue in force.

Sites such as those in my photographs need to stay fresh in our memory. When our political leaders claim protective policies and regulations are not needed, my work stands as proof otherwise. This work graphically demonstrates the importance of modern environmental laws in ensuring that the nation's most valuable natural resources will be enjoyed by all future generations.


Process Statement
The 'Wasteland' photographs required the use of a specialized camera provided on loan by The Charles A. Hulcher Camera Company (www.hulchercamera.com). The camera rotates around a fixed point exposing an entire 360-degree view. The result is a negative that measures 2.25" x 20". The negative was digitized using a high-resolution scanner.

The images are printed using digital technology that exposes standard color photographic paper with a high-resolution laser creating a true continuous tone photograph. When the photographs were initially displayed, their size measured 4 feet x 44 feet. They were displayed on a constructed circular enclosure to surround the viewers and allow them to become part of the abused landscape.


 
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