Viewpoint Gallery is pleased to present the photographs of Arthur Drooker in an exhibition called Lost Worlds: Ruins of the Americas, in the Main Gallery.
Drooker presents a powerful visual meditation on the cultures, conflicts and conquests that forged the New World. Covering significant ruins in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America, this exhibit offers a unique pictorial survey of the geographical, architectural and historical diversity that defines the Americas. Lost Worlds highlights ruins that are acknowledged world wonders, little known gems and outright surprises. They include monumental temples of Mexico’s Mayan civilization, a former king’s palace on the island of Haiti, colonial churches ravaged by earthquakes in Guatemala and iconic Inca citadels in Peru’s Sacred Valley, some of the 33 sites that Drooker visited in sixteen countries. His luminous images, shot with a specially adapted digital infrared camera, expose crumbled walls, weathered facades and overgrown flora in ways most viewers have never seen.
Drooker is a photographer whose work has been exhibited and published since 1980. His award-winning book, American Ruins (Merrell, 2007), was the first photographic survey of historic ruins throughout the United States. He is also an Emmy Award-winning writer and director of television documentaries.
“Photographing ruins merges my passions for history and photography,” Says Drooker. “I'm drawn to these sites to commune with those who came before us, preserve what they left behind, and restore what they've built to our collective memory. In this act of creation, I confront my own mortality and become most alive.”
He has three criteria for selecting these sites: They have to be preserved as historic ruins; they must make a distinctive architectural and geographic contribution to the series; and they should be suitable subjects for infrared photography, a medium that, to Drooker, best evokes their inherent mystery.
In making these images, Drooker expands on a tradition established by pioneering photographers such as Timothy O’Sullivan, Claude-Joseph Désiré Charnay and William James Stillman, who first brought images of antiquities to the public. “Now it’s my turn, using technology they never could have imagined, to respond to a question posed in 1855 by Abel Fletcher, a writer for the Photographic and Fine Art Journal. His query, a plea really, seems just as relevant now as it did then:”
“Are not these monuments of former ages calling upon us, as artists, to come and secure their shadows by the pencil ray of Heaven, ere their crumbling forms shall pass away forever?”
You can learn more about Arthur Drooker's work on his web site