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Ryland West, MFA Photography, Portraits of Ephemerality

Portraits of Ephemerality is a photographic series combining traditional landscape photography with contemporary portrait lighting. Through a mix of different lighting practices, I remove external elements and subject matter to explore singular subjects. These photographs focus on the geometric shape and concealed texture, stressing the form of arctic structures. Taking a minimalist approach, I push into the micro-textures embedded into the ice and back away to construct a dynamic portrait of the landscape.

This body of work appeals to the sublimity connected to these fragile places by creating a visual experience embedded in the precise simplicity of unconventional composition. The technique and subjectivity create a magnificent and quiet image from a loud dynamic landscape, drawing an emotional response of awe and wonder connected to fragile environments. The push and pull between the relatable and unrelatable challenges the familiar frame of traditional landscape photography.

Through obscuration of scale, the compositions encourage a closer look at these remote and unstable areas by triggering a sense of curiosity. Using light to build photographs around the arctic’s fragility, Portraits of Ephemerality aims to give a face to places most of the world will never see by highlighting their beauty.