’The Border’ by Victoria Sambunaris, New York
Victoria Sambunaris (who photographed Frank Sinatra’s house for us back in W*115) continues on her journey to produce thought-provoking photographs that document the geography of a changing American landscape. Her latest series: a study on the intersection between land and civilisation, ’The Border’ series is the result of her two year 20,000 mile toil over the US-Mexican border area.
Driving and camping her way through terrain between Texas’ Big Ben and San Diego, the rugged course led her to the geological delights of sites such as Rio Grande River, Big Bend National Park, and the 18-ft-high border fence which runs past border towns such as El Paso, Texas.
The places themselves are jaw-droppingly vast, and Sambunaris’ treatment of this is skillfull, if not powerful - no mean feat, if you consider the all too real threat of grizzly bears, rattlesnakes, and other such questionable encounters.
This relentless pursuit of wanting to show the landscape for what it is, is Sambunaris’ oevre, and one she does like no other. ’Borders’, like her other work, doesn’t look to carry a political message (despite what photographing border state landscapes would imply), but simply looks to create a neutral stance, and tries to resolve the question of how human development has reflected in the landscape.
Shot in film, the large-scale pieces (we are talking 39 x 55 inches of C-type prints here), are stirring and compelling, and a true consideration of the geographical and psychological barrier that the border carries.