Salt Mountains, Dirt Piles, and Collected Things: a continuing study



This project began as a seasonal exercise to photograph one monumental salt pile as though it was a personal mountain range, in way to distort context and scale. I hoped to use this stock-piled road salt to create a romantic collection of moody landscapes, documenting my seasons in the city. Shed a tear, think of the salt stores streaking salt trails when it rains. This year, it has been harder and harder to photograph them. The salt stores are a measure of the wealth, budget, and environmental policy in this city, and have generated a significant amount of controversy in local news. A guard sits in the trailer on the grounds, and a barbed wire fence surrounds the far perimeter. So I continue with Dirt piles. They share the same transformative powers to alter the landscape. They signify construction, disaster prevention, fortification, and in the Midwest the richness of Earth. They’re also a symbol of creative potential, power, and for me nostalgia. My earliest days of creation were in a dirt pile I thought of as a great gift of raw material to make a new world.