In Unearthing the Deep Divide Along the San Andreas Fault, I explore the political division and social tribalism that are so prevalent in our culture today. I use the seismically active San Andreas Fault as an ideologic line to represent this discord. By photographing along the fault’s 800-mile-long path that cuts through the state of California, I make landscape images that represent the schism in society.
In contrast to the abundance of California’s natural beauty, destructive earthquakes are a persistent threat to the state’s 40 million residents. This uncertainty symbolically parallels the risk of social rifts in our communities. We are a culture of diverse individuals, yet we are becoming more polarized. I seek solace in nature from the harsh rhetoric and relish the solitude of the road where I can easily avoid partisan cable news and social media. I read the details of the landscape, yet the conflict is never far from my mind.
For this project, I am using an infrared camera which captures light beyond our visible spectrum; I want to show that one’s perception is not all there is to see. Because California’s nickname is “the golden state” (a moniker mainly attributed to the 1849 Gold Rush), I’m printing the images on vellum and gilding the back with 24k gold leaf for exhibition. The image titles are an integral part of the project.
A set of fifty gilded images are currently on display at the Sanchez Art Center's 50|50 Show in Pacifica, CA. The images are a unique set of small works, six-inch square panels. The exhibition closes on Oct 9, 2022.