Untitled from Monument, 2011-2015
©Jessica M. Kaufman, all rights reserved
For several years I have been working on a project titled “Monument” that is a meditation on human existence and mortality, using the Italian landscape as my muse. I photographed in the Dolomites, a range I chose for the menacing feel of its jagged spires and scabrous rocks, and will soon shoot in their earth-bound antithesis: the rolling hills of Tuscany. Though I am no longer a religious person, I have always been drawn to the larger themes of religion in my work, such as love, death, rebirth, and the overall grandiosity of faith itself. For me, landscape begs such metaphors. Its capacity to elicit elemental fear and contemplation of human frailty in one view, and then soothe with a rumination on beauty and eternity in another, is what draws me to rely on it for subject matter. In its final format, "Monument" will be a series of contrasting compositions that invite one to consider different measures of the infinite, and that play off one another in much the same way that faith and doubt are intertwined.