Grant Johnson

 

A fascination with landform dominates my work, especially the evolution of form resulting from the interaction of natural and human forces with the landscape. My work celebrates nature as the abiding intelligence at work in the universe. Human nature finds its way into my work as well, though usually as a counterforce to be reconciled.

 

For twenty years I was an assignment photographer/videographer for The Nature Conservancy, covering California and areas of Hawaii. Over the years I have made repeat visits to many locations and have observed and photographed changes brought about by increased human activity and climate change.

 

I currently use reconnaissance image processing technology to interpret my terrestrial and high altitude aerial photographs as large prints on canvas and watercolor paper. In New Landscape Work, I utilize satellite image composites to show the "big picture" effect of our competitive consumption.


We are in the midst of the sixth known mass extinction of life on earth. Forests are succumbing to climate change and invasion by opportunistic parasites, then dying and burning, changing our familiar landscapes from forest to scrubland. Recent political and economic trends in America have produced a disturbing emphasis on disposable goods, especially tech items, and an increased demand for energy production to power them. The resultant extractive drilling and mining, logging and fishing enable a false sense of economic prosperity while depleting these natural resources beyond the point of recovery. These revelations inspired my WELCOME TO THE FUTURE show in November, 2008.

 

"We have created a Star Wars Civilization with Stone Age Emotions" says renowned biologist E.O.Wilson. "We thrash around and are a danger to ourselves and the rest of life...Our conquest of earth happened so quickly that the rest of the biosphere has not had time to adjust and our heedless destruction of species shows scant sign of abating."

 

The Blue Marble photograph (Apollo 17, 1972), showed a fully illuminated planet alone in the void of space. This environmental image has inspired many people to comment on the beauty and apparent tranquility of our planet, seen from a distance. Higher resolution sensors, however, and more powerful optics have informed that false perception of tranquility, as we begin to get a more accurate view of what is really going on down on the surface of our planet. The birds-eye perspective provides a context unattainable from ground level. My initial attraction to these images was their sheer beauty and elegance. From a distance, the compositions can look like grand abstract gestures in color and form. Upon closer examination they reveal fundamental truths about the human impact upon the environment, documenting the extent and accelerating destruction of our home planet.

The large prints in NEW LANDSCAPE WORK are photo mosaics, produced from hundreds of orbits (paths and rows) of satellite images. Oildale, California, for instance, is 132 images assembled and processed into a single, very high resolution landscape. Because so many different interpretations are possible from a single multi-band image dataset, it is not uncommon for the same image to look quite different due to the processing objectives of the user.

 

Imagery source data, data sets and individual images are supplied by:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Earth Observatory
U S Geological Survey
EROS Data Center
Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center
Google Earth
Digital Globe
Landsat.org, Global Observatory for Ecosystem Services, Michigan State University

grantjohnson.net

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© Amos Eno Gallery 2019