Konar Goldband

Ellen and Steve are life partners and collaborators in fine art photography. Their photographic collaboration began during their global travels and now sustains them at home and nearby surroundings. Steve’s eye for geometry, structure and macro perspective provide a strong foundation while Ellen’s focus on texture, color and narrative soften and lay bare the more personal meaning and emotion.  Much of their approach builds on the groundbreaking New Topographics of Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz and others and the central idea that anthropogenic landscapes embody both intrinsic beauty and cultural significance. Their work captures both the rhythm and repetition as well as the ruptures of the resultant landscape. The juxtaposition of the two brings into focus harmony and antagonisms in interactions between humans and the natural world and inspire conversation about the artistic and societal lessons to be learned from the hyper-functional and yet always personal scenes that surround us.

Increasingly, their printing and finishing amplifies their photographic intent.  Much of their work is printed on crafted and even handcrafted fiber papers that they then encase in wax. One of their pieces, printed on their own hand-crafted paper was a semifinalist in an International Exhibition at Awagami’s ‘Hall of Awa Japanese Paper Museum’ in Japan. Two of their projects, Fertile Ground and Between the Rows are being featured in a Israel Museum Council salon hosted by the Director of the Israel Museum. Their work has received many awards and been exhibited broadly in galleries in California, throughout the U.S. and Japan.

Artist’s Statement

The series “Fertile Ground” pays homage to the seemingly endless “factories in fields” of California. The viewer is presented with resplendent arrays of meticulously managed fields and individual plants peeking through plastic pathways. The images narrate the transfer of incipient strawberry seedlings, initially multiplied in massive greenhouses, to massive fields where they are irrigated and fumigated to yield 20 times those of fields in New York. The seemingly infinite geometries, plays of light and dark, and hints of texture and detail reveal much to cheer, and also reasons to fear, the culture of modern day agronomy that feeds America in the 21st Century.

Our photographic approach builds on the groundbreaking New Topographics of Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz and others who introduced the idea that anthropogenic landscapes embody both intrinsic beauty and cultural significance. More recent work by Mark Klett, Robert Dawson and their contemporaries continues to inspire this conversation about the artistic and societal lessons to be learned from the seemingly prosaic and hyper-functional scenes that surround us in the American West.