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.