Meticulously staged photographs portray eerie city scenes devoid of all humans.
Imagining a future in which New York City’s inhabitants have mysteriously disappeared — abducted by extraterrestrials, fled in wake of a nuclear accident, perished in a second black plague, or any other sinister possibility — Lori Nix embarked on a staged photography project entitled The City.
That was in 2005. Nix has worked slowly on this project, crafting each image by hand out of cardboard, clay, and a variety of other materials. Each one takes about seven months to complete, with two to three weeks devoted to capturing the right shot. Nix credits a Kansas upbringing for her morbid fascination (possibly bordering on obsession, she writes on her website) with the apocalypse. Raised in a small, rural part of the state, she explains:
Each passing season brought it’s own drama, from winter snow storms, spring floods and tornados to summer insect infestations and drought. Whereas most adults viewed these seasonal disruptions with angst, for a child it was considered euphoric. Downed trees, mud, even grass fires brought excitement to daily, mundane life.
Of course, the artist isn’t the only one entranced by the idea of beautiful destruction, as countless published photo series of blighted cities, such as Detroit, tell us, along with the proliferation of “disaster flicks” such as Towering Inferno, Earthquake, and Planet of Apes that captivated a child-sized Nix. She writes:
The City postulates what it would be like to live in a city that is post man-kind, where man has left his mark by the architecture, but mother nature is taking back these spaces. Flora, fauna and insects mix with the detris of high and low culture.
Interested parties in the New York area may view her most recent additions to the project on display at Chelsea’s ClampArt Gallery now until November 16. Take a look:
Images: Lori Nix