For years I have struggled with the decision to become and American citizen, and this year I became an American citizenship, making me a part of America’s long history of immigrants. This personal passage has influenced my work. A sense of identity tied to a particular place is now integral to my landscape photography.
Since 2005 I’ve looked for some sense of home in the local landscape, and found it in the clipped topiary of the Greenwood Cemetery, and from there I made a body of work called “Between Two Lands.” I continued looking for the familiar, a sense of England in my neighborhood, and this time I found it in the morning light amongst long grasses or in a hilltop view. This work became an exhibit at the North Dakota Museum of Art called a Sense of Place.
Many of my photographs are matched pairs, often two views of the same place just feet and minutes apart, some are countries apart. The gap of time and place between the paired images becomes important and what isn’t seen, what has happens in the connection between each image is the nexus of the work.
In 2010 I expanded these pairs in Lakes to Lakes. After receiving a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, I traveled back and forth to Cumbria, an area new to me in England, in search of more connections of place and identity. This ongoing body of work is a collection of typological landscapes, pairing similar environments of lake and wood in Beltrami county, with those in Cumbria, in the North of England. These typologies categorize the familiar: a dock on a lake in the early morning, a woodland path, or the expanse of an open field. They are the quiet and very understated places that many Minnesotans will be familiar with, perhaps to the point of not seeing them anymore. To me these places have also become iconic, and because I see them both in Cumbria and Northern Minnesota, I am drawn to them. They define for me a sense of place, a sense of belonging in both worlds.
My current project, Walking Trees, looks at tree migration across the landscape. Climate change has forced cool climate trees further northwards, and as some areas of the US become more arid, the environment becomes more hostile to trees. So like people who must move because of food shortages and politically hostile situations, trees must also move, migrate. They have tended to do this very slowly, their migration is not on our timescale, but they do move. The ways they move are by birds, Jays mostly, and other animals carrying and transplanting seed. By the wind carrying seed. By tree colonies spreading roots and suckering up. By falling over and growing up, and falling over. By humans, buying and planting trees where they would never grow before. Walking Trees is a two year project.
I hope you like the work you see. I have much more reserved for print rather than online publication. If you are interested in any of the work, or in any of the projects, please contact me: email@example.com
All work is copyright of Vivienne Morgan.