When it comes to spreading information in the 21st century, the common knowledge is that the visual trumps all. In Our Beautiful Fragile World, Peter Essick proves this idea.
Essick collects photos from his 25 years as a photo journalist in which the wild runs headlong into the industrialized. From the South Pacific to Alaska, Essick’s vibrant color work illustrates a world in which every choice has a price. A photo of a water show in the Vegas Strip, all colored lights and tourists in short pants and hats shows not the bling of the city, but what happens when the middle class has disposable income and a desire for the novel – first degradation, then understanding, then renewal. The stories of Vegas’ creation of an oasis in the American Desert here gets a new twist. In describing this photo, Essick writes:
“In recent years, scientists have named this era of natural history the Anthropocene, a geologic age where man has taken control of the Earth’s biosphere. A growing number of photographers
are devoting their creative talents to photographing life in the Anthropocene. These types of photographs can have several layers of meaning, and they ask questions about what we humans are destroying in the name of progress”
That quote illustrates Essick’s work perfectly. In the end, you can appreciate Essick’s work as simple art – his long exposures of waterways like the Colorado River wouldn’t look out of place in any gallery devoted to upscale nature art. However, taking the time to read Essick’s words that accompany his images and the way in which he teases meanings out of his images and the situations in which they were made is what helps this book to transcend mere coffee table beauty. More information aabout the book and purchasing are available here