I consider myself a faux-landscape photographer. I build meticulously detailed model environments and then photograph the results. Through the photographic process, the fictional scene is transformed into a surreal space, where scale, perspective, and the document of the photograph create a tension between the material reality of the scene and the impossibility of the depicted narrative. In this space, between evidence and plot, the imagination of the viewer is unlocked, engaged, and provoked. I want my scenes to convey rich, complex, detailed, and, ultimately, open-ended narratives.
Several common themes prevail throughout my work: the constructed photograph, the landscape in turmoil, and danger married to humor. I present these elements as the raw materials of stories with messages, but without conclusions.
The photographs I create do not reflect the tradition of the grand idyllic landscape. Rather than showing the beautiful or heroic vista, I look to the darker corners of life. I am interested in the forces of entropy, in the ruins left in the wake of human pretense of grandeur. My scenes are usually devoid of people, and this emptiness becomes an important element. In this way, the impact of civilization is shown by what remains in the absence of humans. Evidence of humans may still be visible, but the cause for their absence is left unclear, allowing the viewer to complete the narrative.
In my current series The City, I focus on the ruins of urban landscapes. I have chosen the spaces that celebrate modern culture, knowledge, and innovation: the theater, the museum, and the library. Here the monuments of civilization and material culture are abandoned, in a state of decay and ruin, with natural elements such as plants, insects, and animals beginning to repopulate the spaces. This idea of paradise lost, or the natural world reclaiming itself, becomes more forceful as we face greater environmental challenges in the world around us. [End Page 260]
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Lori Nix was born in Norton, Kansas, and studied ceramics and photography at Ohio University. Drawing from romanticism and abstract expressionism, Nix hand-constructs and photographs meticulous tableaux that reflect her interest in disaster scenarios and the sublime. Her work has been shown in institutions such as the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City and the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio. Nix lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, where she has received two New York Foundation for the Arts Individual Artist Grants.