In this modern time, it isn't unusual to feel so wrapped up in your personal life – what with hustling to keep a job, to buy food, to rent a place, to dress oneself and still keep up with iPhone's yearly releases – that there's no more energy left to care about particular global issues.
You know what we have in mind – homelessness, poverty, refugee crisis, terrorism, climate change, etc. are important, yet very demanding things to care about when you gotta make ends meet.
However, Denver-based pilot/photographer Evan Anderman has made it his mission to pull us away from our mere mortal existences and show us the *bigger picture* – one that's not always pretty.
Anderman's aerial photo series In Plain Sight is dedicated to documenting the impact us, humans, have had on the planet earth. Through a number of bird's eye view shots, the artist brings out some of the most shocking environmental disasters caused by humanity: fracking, mines, algae infestation, and so on.
Over three years, Anderman has made a number of flights over parts of American West, which are fairly undiscovered by regular folk: eastern Colorado, western Kansas and rural Wyoming. What initially was intended to be a fine art project documenting the beauty of these vast areas, soon turned into so much more than that:
"At first, my intention was to capture the beauty in these less-traveled landscapes as I had in the past. But it’s a different story now. Human activity is altering the land at a pace that is impossible for me to ignore."
Anderman's choice to name the series In Plain Sight pokes fun at our inability (or unwillingness) to see the disastrous effects taking place: sea levels and global temperatures rising, forests and wildlife dying... It is all in plain sight, yet so many of us still deny it.
The photographer, who doesn't want to be referred to as an activist, says it is his "role as an artist to shine a light on aspects of our society that people aren't seeing." He explains:
"I think we’ve become disconnected from the reality that it takes a massive amount of infrastructure to support our desire to live in big houses and drive big cars.
When you’re on the ground, it’s difficult to appreciate the scale of these operations or get access to them. But from the air, it’s all right there in plain sight."
Anderman says the most common human activity altering American landscapes is related to farming and agriculture, energy industry, fracking, wind warms and housing developments.
"Areas unsuitable for crops are dedicated to grazing of livestock. Where there is grazing, there are feedlots – and some are so massive they’re visible on satellite photos. There’s something unsettling about flying over a feedlot and seeing the unnatural jet-black color of the soil."
However, the photographer remains hopeful. Anderman believes in the human ability to change our course of action, adapt our decisions and mindset to better care for the environment.
To see Anderman's work in real life, visit the Denver Central Public Library September 17–December 31, 2016, or browse his website.