Working mostly in black and white, Ward focuses on the fundamental material that constructs the landscape: grain, texture, bright light, dappled shade. By denying us the familiar green lawns and foliage, colored blooms and surfaces, Ward’s large format photographs challenge us to see the landscape with new eyes.
These photographs reveal Ward’s dual interests in the generational influences that past landscapes have had on the present and the use of photography to arrest fleeting moments of esthetic experience. From the historic landscape of Middleton Plantation in South Carolina, to the recently competed National September 11 Memorial in New York, the elements of landscape architecture—trees, ground cover, hedges—continue to grow, change, and even die. The expansive photo collection takes viewers around the United States, from Fountain Place in Dallas to local locations like Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.
The exhibition also illustrates the process of making these images, including the panoramic and 4x5 cameras used to capture these images. Today we take photographs with our phones and share them often without making a single physical print. Before digital technology, photography was the chemistry of capturing light. These photographs began in the darkroom, as developed negatives, test prints, and enlargements.
Whether you go or not, American Designed Landscapes: A Photographic Interpretation presents more than 100 b/w images that reveal a powerful chronology of design on the land in the United States.