Through the contemporary proliferation of photographs, we can see the whole world, and to see a photograph is to know. As Susan Sontag said in 1973, humankind still lingers in Plato’s cave and trusts in images as representations of truth. It is this visual language of photography that has shaped mainstream aesthetic and perceptual understanding of the landscape as a framed and tempered representation of natural, inland scenery. Within a culture and an understanding of “reality” that is mediated by representation after representation (and representations of representations), landscape photography largely influences our perception of the land itself. But photography is capable of presenting more than framed vistas captured in a single moment of time from a single vantage point; it has an enduring capacity to give form to new perceptions and, by extension, new experiences and ideas.
Transcriptions acts as an evaluation of representation of the landscape as a means to propose alternative ways of experiencing a place. It questions the limited scope within which photography is often understood by presenting a dialogue between the landscape and the photographic materials to challenge our preconceptions of what a document can be. By focusing on the surface of photographic materials and light, time, chemical, and digital interactions, this work appropriates integral features of photography in order to reveal new ways of seeing the visual, material, and ephemeral conditions of environment. Here, the medium is the message and it opens up a multiplicity of meanings to present views that are outside of our limited perception and only made visual through the inherences of photographic recording processes. By presenting this self-contained history of photography, I hope to propose ways of thinking about the medium’s ontological complexity.