Shadow on the Things You Know, ©Geoffrey Agrons
The uneasy coexistence between human populations and the natural world interests me as a photographer. Before my recent relocation to the San Francisco Bay area, I lived for many years in coastal southern New Jersey, where I was drawn aesthetically to the ordered pilings, decaying buildings and piers, dune fences, structural debris, and kitsch of my seaside town. Deeply influenced by Michael Kenna’s work, I came to favor the stark graphic quality of monochrome images and the temporal dislocation imparted by long exposure times as I examined the interaction between wind, waves, salt, and the human footprint. I am particularly intrigued by the ambiguous quality of everyday objects encountered at the water’s edge between twilight and dawn, and the tension between the elements and human expectations of permanence and control.
The series Hazardous Shorelines takes its title from a warning posted within landfill rubble on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. Although intended to safeguard visitors, the admonition seemed open to interpretation. The solidity of wood and stone and metal and glass is temporal at the water’s edge, and a photograph records only a brief moment in the gradual process of effacement. Thus, structural evidence of human activity along a coastline is a palimpsest. Water, wind and time rub its contours smooth, erode its stature, pit its surface, yet still leave visible traces of its original form. In turn, the coastline itself evolves.
- Geoffrey Agrons
Geoffrey Agrons received a Gold Medal Award in the 2012 New Images Photography Awards and a Silver Medal Award in the 2013 San Francisco International.
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