Monday, November 1, 2010

Carolyn King posts Richard Ross

This photo was taken at a shelter in Conroe, Texas, about 40 miles north of my hometown.

I found the project "Waiting for the End of the World" to be interesting not because of the photos themselves but on the idea that was supported by the photos. The body of work focuses on the environment and architecture of underground habitats, which were either made, converted or were naturally converted into shelters. I became interested in the idea of how these spaces, made in hopes of protection, could become one's fateful cell that no longer protects, but inhibits. At times the shelters are majestically cavernous, they always seem looming, on the verge of collapsing, not structurally but figuratively, onto seeming beauty that constructs the space. Ross stated in an interview (available on his site), "Shelters are the architecture of failure—the failure of moderation, politics, communication, diplomacy, and sustaining humanity. They represent the ultimate in optimism and belief in individual survival and paradoxically the ultimate in pessimism—the expectation of the destruction of humanity." Through the evident beauty of these spaces I sense the optimism Ross speaks of, but ultimately, I am overwhelmed by the immense cloud of expected decadence and thoroughly enjoy the juxtaposition.

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