Lay of the Land Perspectives on the American Landscape


The key factor that brought me to these artists is their intimacy of approach to landscape photography. Through these works, one feels a personal closeness when witnessing this exploration of the world. Each photographer is on a personal pilgrimage, and the camera is their journal. Photography, by its organic nature, can be steeped in craft and technicalities. While there’s nothing wrong with this, it can cause a photographer to lose sight of their vision, presenting their pilgrimages as inspired illustrative narratives.

This exhibition offers the viewer an opportunity to go beyond the myth ordinarily thought of as the American landscape to expressions that seemed only accessible to painters, not photographers. These six artists offer spiritual affirmation to the ecological systems they encounter to offer the audience their own particular lay of the land.

Llewellyn (Lew) Berry

Artist Statement, excerpt

For more than 40 years, I have been primarily an urban black-and-white photography artist, walking through the city studying the visual effect of natural light across objects, people, and scenes. The city inspires me, driving my art with every new person I meet, every new item I encounter,and every street I walk.

The city has its appeal and its energy invigorates as it electrifies daily life. Nature, however, in its understated brilliance stimulates in quieter, calmer and a more stately way and as I capture that dynamic, I am one with it and feel a different vibration and life energy

Grant Circle, Petworth 1982 | The Beach at Gunpowder Falls State Park, 2016
Steve Donegan

Artist Statement, excerpt

Several years ago, while I searched forsomething new to bring to my landscape imagery, I began experimenting in woven textile. A friend after visiting my studio suggested that I weave one of my images, and they arranged for me to visit their University’s textile department. After touring the studios and production area of working looms, I decided that this was a good point to begin another phase for making my imagery. I liked the first results enough to continue with the process, and it has become the exclusive way for making my work.

...the woods, folders, and shoeboxes of minerals have been replaced with a spectacular garden where I focus allof my attention. My tapestries are the product of an effort to capture all of my simultaneous reactions to it, the whirl from that input, its possibilities, and the craving of it.

Strobilanthes, 2017 | Hasta Shadow, 2017
Ken Hipkins

Artist Statement, excerpt

My mother was from rural Richmond, Virginia, Powhatan County. A place so sufficiently unspeakable for young, intelligent, pretty black women, that the very night she graduated from high school, her father had her on a bus headed north for Newark, New Jersey to join his two sisters. These women abandoned the southern United States earlier as great migrants. Ten years after my mother’s arrival in Newark, came my arrival in Newark, and I began to slowly learn my mother’s love of Newark.

Now fifty-plus years later from my home in DC, I am able to return to the Newark/New York area. I am able to walk through those mysterious side streets and examine what gritty, industrial beauty is left. I use medium and large format film cameras. I want to use lenses of years and decades past, lenses, the paint brushes of photography.

Newark Building 003, 2017 | Newark Brewery, 2005
Grover Massenburg

Artist Statement, excerpt

I am a Washington, DC based artist-designer and photographer. Photographers, Ansel Adams, and Gordon Parks influence my approach to color and how I process black and white. Creating a photograph is like mixing music.

I love nature, music and architecture and use my photography to capture the ever-changing environment. Looking first for shape and color, then exploring the quality of light within the scene. It’s this quality of light, shadows and value that is manipulated into the expression to set a mood.

Abandoned, 2011 | Amalfi Coast Cliffs, 2004
Bruce McNeil

Artist Statement, excerpt

Some people may look at the Anacostia River and see only dirty, polluted water. Using my camera, I provide a distinct view, presenting The River with a wide range of photographic styles to provoke emotion. The image of each separate waterway offers a special perspective of its sublime beauty as well as showcasing styles of nature photography. I create iconic, painterly photographs— my unique signature.

My art demonstrates the poetic and lyrical beauty of our natural world. As a Ward 7 resident, I have lived east of the Anacostia River for more than 20 years. I have come to know that body of water intimately. My mission has been to produce a body of new and exhibited work titled Anacostia River Photography that enlightens the public while encouraging environmentalists and policymakers to establish and maintain conservation programs. I explore, research, photograph the natural landscapes, waterways and surrounding communities of the Anacostia River and its 13 tributaries.

Anacostia Watershed, 2012 | Quebec City River Park, 2011
Francesca Scott

Artist Statement, excerpt

I am a documentary photographer. The human element of photography intrigues me. Creating images that will make the viewer stop and possibly find a connection with the image, positively or negatively, is the central theme and focus of all my work. Could the captured image possibly change the viewer’s thought process after viewing it? How powerful are the unspoken words and thoughts of the viewer? Beyond the obvious viewpoint, what does the viewer experience.

Photographer Peter Turnley says “Could you change someone’s life because they viewed your photo?” My work aims to find the answer.

Bail, 2017 | Once Loved, 2017

Exhibited through a grant awarded by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

The Curatorial Grant Program provides support for the development and public presentation of visual art exhibitions by District resident curators through grant support and use of CAH’s exhibition space within their building lobby.

We are also grateful for the additional support from the following organizations


Bruce McNeil, View From the Bridge, 2017

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