Empire Falling is artist Elena Dorfman’s series of conceptual landscape photographs exploring the abandoned and active rock quarries of the Midwest, in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Using images made over the course of several years and numerous locations, the work presents a contemporary view of an ancient—though evolving—landscape. “These seemingly ordinary sites, whose aggregate is mined until the earth has nothing left to give, have been a constant source of wonder to me. What began as a sociological exploration of the communities that gather at quarries to jump from rocky precipices into water, evolved into a study of these massive pits, often overlooked and unseen. Using an archeological approach, I manipulate and reconstruct the landscape, reassembling and layering the pictures just as the oldest rock begins at the bottom and works its way up to the surface”.
As globalization and consolidation continue unchecked, these astonishing landscapes are transfigured—with landfills, golf courses, and exclusive housing communities—wherein the quarry water element has, ironically, been incorporated into the development as a scenic or recreational point of focus. The photographs from Empire Falling present the quotidian rock landscape in an unexpected way, such that the viewers’ perception is challenged not only by the imagery itself but also by their own personal subjective relationships to the industry and the evolving earth.
Read more about Elena Dorfman here