Nantahala Issue 1:2 / John Scarlata
John Scarlata: Statement

The Southern landscape has been the primary subject of my photography since 1981. This is a rapidly changing subject due to the transformation of the South from an rural-agricultural to an urban-industrial region. My interest is in land use, and photography's unique ability to present that reality. The work is informed by the history of landscape art, the history of landscape photography from the 19 th century survey photography of the Western United States to the New Topographics photographs of the 1970's, environmental sculpture and earth works.

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The marks humans make and the objects they leave in the land as they manipulate it for their use are very compelling, and these are often the subjects of my photographs. My work encompasses a broad range of these land altering activities both those of a negative or destructive nature and those that represent a positive or harmonious change within the environment. The landscape is experienced by most Americans from the automobile and the highway is the point of view for many of these works. The highway, automobiles, and other motor vehicles if not present in the work is often implied. Many of my subjects have been created as a direct result of the freedom the automobile has allowed American culture. My photographs make implicit an environmental or political statement and this is an important part of my intent. Within the aesthetic of the photographic print, I seek to make a formal statement in conjunction with its cultural expression.