In contrast, it is human intervention creating artefacts which is found in the ‘Burned Over’ series, created in the woods in Upstate New York. This is the territory of the witches of Blair, and where spiritualism first appeared. Pyrotechnic experts created special fireworks, which gave rise to powerful images which suggest that something supernatural is happening. These are theatrical images of nature, indomitable and fascinating.
Witches, like uncontaminated nature, pervade the American imagination, and re-emerge in Amelia Bauer’s photographs with powerful suggestiveness. The ‘Extra Terrestrial’ series presents the typical desert landscapes of New Mexico photographed at night but illuminated by natural daylight lamps. The veracity of the shots disappears in a surreal aura which gives way to the beauty of the landscape in an extra-terrestrial light. The same nocturnal light is used for the ‘Midnight in Diablo Canyon’ series, where the rocks emerge from the moonlight in a vibrant ‘tone on tone’.
Indomitable landscape plays a central role in many American mythical adventures. They are places full of possibilities waiting to be discovered, full of roads to be travelled, but also a place of the obscure, of the unknown. Amelia Bauer explores the American tradition of Frontiers as landscapes of transition, at the limits of civilisation, where our fear of the unknown meets our romantic fascination with uncontaminated landscapes.