Adam Neese: The States Project: Texas
The States Project is a hefty series, one that can only merely highlight a handful of any given state’s photographers. Being our second largest state, with some of the most prominent art scenes and spaces, Texas is definitely one of the harder places to tackle. This week Adam Neese steps up showcasing six photographers and their projects that have caught his eye. Today we are featuring two bodies of work by Adam, Seen and People who Photograph the Maroon Bells. Both series focus on dissecting the photographic experience, while calling attention to the human inclination in recording with cameras.
Adam Neese is a photographer who investigates place, mythology, and interaction with the landscape in his work. His bodies of artwork have been exhibited in numerous group, solo, and two person exhibitions nationally and internationally. Adam was an artist in residence at Arteles Creative Center in Hämeenkyrö, Finland in 2015, was the overall winner of Redbird Editions’ inaugural open call in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2013, and worked with Cow House Studios’ Art on the Farm program in County Wexford, Ireland in 2013. He holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the University of North Texas. Adam’s photographs are included in collections including Harwood International and Target Corporate Headquarters and various private collections. He lives and works in Houston, Texas.
Adam shares his perspective of being a Texas based photographer:
How else can I say it? Texas is simply a large place- so big that to drive across it from East to West on interstate 10 would take approximately 13 hours. When I leave North Texas each summer to visit Colorado, I spend the first 8 hours in my own state. The ideas here are big, too. In Texas, we have an independence day to celebrate our independent republic from Mexico in 1836. We have our own Texas edition of truck, and every month is a Texas Truck Month sale it seems. And yet, some of us still ride horses to work.
The landscape, as you can imagine, is also quite diverse. The forests in east Texas are where I have been working on the project Seen, but just a few hours west of there lie the Hill Country, where fresh springs bubble out of aquifers year-round at 68°. In the panhandle the elevation rises to become high altitude plains, and west Texas is largely a desolate and arid desert.
As a photographer working out of this vast state, it’s impossible to know all of the diverse and spectacular work other photographers are making. Each of the major cities has it’s own community of image-makers, all of which are creating fantastic work, and the cities are such a small portion of the land-base. If I had to summarize what it’s like to be a photographer working in Texas in a few words, I would say that Texas is a large place, and that the massive place influences the people here in every way.
Seen and People who Photograph the Maroon Bells
My bodies of work investigate the personal and cultural mythology of place; the role of photography in the construction of identity; and how published imagery of the landscape attains iconic status, and thereby affects the perception of and defines interaction with place.
I am continually interested in the way meaning is construed through storytelling, folklore, and in this case, cryptozoology; the ways which our perception of place affects our experiences of them. Prompted by research conducted by the North American Wood Ape Conservancy (NAWAC), Seen utilizes an interactive map and archive of incident reports to locate and photograph the sites where the Bigfoot has reportedly been seen in Texas and neighboring states. This project explores the research undertaken by this organization, and in parallel reflects the inability of a photograph to represent truth.
People who Photograph the Maroon Bells is a project where I make portraits of individuals who have made the photographic pilgrimage to what the city of Aspen, Colorado calls the “most photographed mountains in North America,” the Maroon Bells. The American West and these mountains specifically are an iconic symbol of the sublime, named named after the color at first light of day when the mountains are rendered a vibrant chestnut color. This title and the popularity of its beauty direct people to arrive before dawn and make an image that they have seen before and alluded to in language.
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Letitia Huckaby: The States Project: TexasJuly 3rd, 2016
Leigh Merrill: The States Project: TexasJuly 2nd, 2016
Krista Steinke: The States Project: TexasJuly 1st, 2016
Diane Durant: The States Project: TexasJune 30th, 2016
Kasumi Chow and Desiree Espada: The States Project: TexasJune 29th, 2016