Angela Faris Belt
Entropy: A natural condition of the physical universe wherein all things continuously move toward greater disorder.
I’ve spent my life immersed in nature, and making photographs to interpret its complex dialog. Through this I’ve become particularly attuned to the vast disparities between nature’s authentic self-expression, and the images we’ve grown to accept as accurate representations of it. Since birth we’re inundated with these familiar and often cliché images—in magazines and on television, in calendars and postcards, as advertisements and décor. But unlike phenomenal experience, images are only fragments, decontextualized and manipulated by the photographer and by medium’s attributes. My series Entropy overtly reveals this disparity.
This series came about when, after a catastrophic hard drive crash I ran a recovery program that (mis)interpreted tens of thousands of my own landscape images. These images are not “glitch art”—I didn’t create them by corrupting computer code. Instead I wandered through them, much like I do forests, deserts and prairies, to find the truths they have to reveal. They are a natural outcome of digital photographic language, our computer culture, and my interest in landscape.
In examining the images, I was drawn to the ways in which they unearthed the landscapes’ digital building blocks, deconstructing them into visible components of content and process. I looked for serendipitous interactions within them, and the more substantive meanings they suggest. While parts of the images are immediately recognizable, being confronted with the photographic media interrupts any attempt at superficial reading. In viewing them we are encouraged to reflect upon photography’s role in cultivating commonly accepted ideas about nature, and to remain conscious of how those ideas influence our valuations and actions toward it.
These images are culled from tens of thousands of corrupt files. To maintain the integrity of the computer’s interpretation, I have optimized their density and contrast but not altered image content or combined images.