Watch an excerpt of Eirik Johnson’s talk last May on his new book Sawdust Mountain at Aperture Gallery. In this clip, Johnson gives an insight on his images from Sawdust Mountain and explains how this area is at a turning point with recent awareness to protect the natural resources and restore ecosystems from extensive exploitation. Johnson also speaks about his inspirations for the project ranging from the photographer Darius Kinsey who documented the pioneers loggers in the Northwest to the abstract expressionist painter Morris Graves of the Northwest School, and author Tess Gallagher whose essay is included in the book. Johnson ends the lecture by a reading of a poem by David Guterson included in the book, while going through his images.
Sawdust Mountain is a culmination of four years photographing throughout Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. A Seattle native, Johnson focuses in this book on the tenuous relationship between industries such as timber and salmon, reliant upon natural resources and the communities they support. Johnson reveals a landscape imbued with an uncertain future—no longer the region of boomtowns built upon the riches of massive old growth forests, at a turning point to protect its natural resources extensively exploited over the last century. Through a poetic approach, Sawdust Mountain records a region affected by historic economic complexities and, by extension, aspects of our fraught relationship with the environment in the twenty-first century.
Johnson also discussed his previous photography projects that lead to Sawdust Mountain before answering questions from the audience. You can watch the talk in its entirety, divided in three different clips, on our vimeo account.
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