A city girl and skeptic to my core, I feel an overwhelming sense of awe in the face of the spread of a desert or the ocean. Within these landscapes, humanity seems small and insignificant.
Geologic eras are etched into layers of rock. Our time on earth seems short in contrast. So far there have been thirty-seven epochs in the history of this planet. Humans have been on Earth for less than two, though our impact has been tremendously outsized.
I have mounted scenes of human habitation behind acrylic, plastic walls that we imagine can safely separate the things we do from having an impact on the natural world. I have then affixed these scenes onto and within sweeping landscapes. I am presenting this work without glass. The constructed world behind the acrylic is literally protected, while the landscapes remain exposed and vulnerable. A continuity of line and color between these two parts of the work hints at their interconnectedness. I use the desert southwest of the United States as a stand-in for what the majority of the land on our planet might look like as it continues to be shaped by rising temperatures, drought, and fires. I present these multi-layered images in hand-painted wooden frames, alluding to the next chapter in the planet’s history. As the image pushes beyond its edges, the story continues to evolve.
In spite of human activity, the Earth continues to transform and reinvent itself. The Earth is not coming to an end. Its inhabitants cannot escape its permanence, and the power it has to shape their existence. The question remains, as nature reinvents itself, can we adapt with it? Will we be part of that next chapter? The planet’s ability to regenerate itself is a given. Can we do the same?
About Diana Cheren Nygren
Diana Cheren Nygren is a fine art photographer from Boston, Massachusetts. Her work explores the way people relate to each other and to their physical environment, be it urban, rural, or natural. She uses the ability of photography to give concrete form to ideas, in order to envision family, future, and possibility. Diana’s photographs address serious social questions through a blend of documentary practice, invention, and humor.
Diana was trained as an art historian with a focus on modern and contemporary art, and the relationship of artistic production to its socio-political context. Her emphasis on careful composition in her photographic work, as well as her subject matter, reflects this training. Her work as a photographer is the culmination of a life-long investment in the power of art and visual culture to shape and influence social change.
Her work has been featured in numerous publications both print and online and has been shown in galleries and museums around the world. It has been recognized with numerous awards including Discovery of the Year in the 2020 Tokyo International Foto Awards, 2nd place in Fine Art/Collage in the 2020 International Photo Awards, a Lensculture Critic’s Choice Award, Best New Talent win the 2021 Prix de la Photographie, Best of Shoot in the 2021 London International Creative Competition, 2nd place in the International Photo Awards and the Budapest International Foto Awards, and was longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize, and was a finalist for Fresh2020, Urban2020, the Hopper Prize, and OpenImage Barcelona, and was longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize. [Official Website]