Beautiful Decay: Pretty Pictures for an Endangered Planet

People are always going on about our endangered environment. Save the coastlines from oil and trash! Save trees from acid and overharvesting! Save the polar bears from drowning between melting ice caps! But all these glass-half-empty types never really talk about all the lovely artistic opportunities that our dying planet affords talented photographers. While three new monographs from Auditorium Editions may not make take the place of endangered flora and fauna, at least they take a bad situation and use it for the best reasons.
Coming this October, Blown by Christopher Griffith, Rubbish by Jake Chessum, and Blackline by Christian Weber document destroyed tires found on America's highways, trash in vacant locales, and the detestation caused by a California wildfire respectively. Depressing subjects, perhaps, but the photos themselves are hauntingly alluring. Griffith's work in particular seems to rescue road waste and turn it into something very reminiscent of the high-contrast jewelry shots featured in fashion magazines and websites (you know…like this one). The beauty of the images never excuse the slights against nature they imply, but they do have enough power to make the viewer stop, look, and think about the sort of detritus they might normally pass by without a thought. Really—from dirty interstates to the over populated California hills—a moment's pause is perhaps the best we can ask.
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