In a “Basic Photography” class my freshman year of college, I was given the assignment “types.” I photographed the back of the heads of all the important people in my life. I loved the assignment, my photos, and getting to see the all my peers’ photos in critique. Ever since, I’ve been drawn to images of types of things, visual catalogs of sights we see repeatedly in the world around us. Because David Kressler’s series Viewpoint also involves nature and how we experience it in a curated way, I of course fell in love with the photographs as soon as I saw them. I love the project’s sense of humor. The pictures ask “This is what you would see if you took that highway exit for the ‘scenic overlook’; is it as beautiful and picturesque as you’d hoped?”

From the artist’s statement: I have always been intrigued by the markers that read “viewpoint” and “scenic overlook” that I see when driving on the highway and what these types of places might impart. A typical arrangement: one first finds a parking lot, a map, and then a path to follow, leading to a clearing, and finally to a place to stand. One hopes to find a stunning vista, a connection to history and place. A life-size diorama of an ideal geography. However, just as often, there is uncertainty. Something missed. A landscape with suggested significance and yet it’s like a stage set, whose performance has yet to happen, or already has.

Who chooses these prescribed points of view? How and why are they chosen? These choices are somewhat analogous to how a photographer decides what to include and exclude in a photograph. Is the viewpoint a narrative or a fact?

I began photographing viewpoints to try and understand and make sense of them. To study the customs, to step back and see the entire structure. As I did, I increasingly became aware of the other side. The subject of the viewpoint. I wanted to go to the other side, the “wrong” side. To be outside the system. To enter the view. In many cases, it’s not possible as a human with your feet on the ground to move into the scene. An invisible wall suggests you keep out. Maybe a railing stands in the way, or a chasm. But as I was able, I did, and I looked back. The observed looking back at the observer as it were. Maybe this desire came from a longing as a photographer to not just be an observer but to be a participant, looking to find something greater in meaning, than even the hopes of a viewpoint.

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Found via: Lenscratch