Elena Dorfman: Empire Falling and River (by Dan Shepherd)

Empire Falling 1, 2013

The history of artistic representation of the American landscape is grounded in the dichotomy between the sublime wilderness versus the cultivated beauty of the perfect man-made vista. Both have a powerful lure on the American psyche’s struggle for progress and the wild unknown. With that in mind, the recent conceptual landscapes by Elena Dorfman caught my attention. Elena is best know for her intensive portrait series that examined the myriad subcultures such as Fandomania: Characters & Cosplay, thoroughbred jockeys in The Pleasure Park, and people and their life-sized sex dolls in Still Lovers. I wanted to know what lures such a photographer to the land. Elena explained that she initially intended her series to be “about the people who gather at quarries to jump, but after a summer of obsessively shooting jumpers–or ‘fallers’–as [she] called them, [she] felt more drawn to the spaces than the people. Thus began a two-year exploration of active and abandoned rock quarries throughout Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky,” which became the genesis of her series and critically acclaimed monograph, Empire Falling. Continue reading here:

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