Wout Berger, ‘Harvest’, 2007, Aperture Foundation

"In the late 1970s Wout Berger was given a copy of Joel Meyerowitz's Cape Light, which proved to be both a revelation and inspiration to him. He acquired his first field camera in 1980 and since then, Berger has almost always worked outside.

Harvest is a newer work by the artist, who has been concerned with distressed landscapes for decades. Berger has been interested in contaminated sites that he often photographs as idyllic landscapes. Of his work he says, ""the European landscape becomes more and more a nature-culture landscape where nature intervenes with human action. In my photography I pronounce no value judgment, I experience culture as a niche within nature. Correctly the passage between culture and nature is interesting, especially those spots where nature reconquers areas on the cultural landscape. This I observe at small-scale. Thus bits of nature can arise where cultivated landscape lies fallow awaiting a construction project.""

Berger's images capture a keen interest in the details of such landscapes. And, yet, by omitting references to scale and landmarks such as the horizon, houses, people, or cars, he allows an abstract element to creep into the images. Harvest, 2007 was published in the artist's monograph Like Birds.

Paper size: 16 x 20 in.

Signature: Signed and numbered by the artist.

About Wout Berger

Wout Berger began photographing landscapes in the late 1970s, focusing on natural sites affected by human development, what he calls “poisoned landscapes.” Rather than presenting straightforward, documentary views of these fragile, polluted places, many of which look paradoxically lush, Berger cuts out any markers of location, scale, and human intervention, such as the horizon line and buildings. By confusing the visual cues associated with health and contamination in his photographs, Berger reveals how disturbingly subtle serious environmental degradation can be.

Dutch, b. 1941, Ridderkerk, Netherlands, based in Uitdam, Netherlands