Fieldwork was a Top Six finalists in the 2007 Critical Mass international photography book award, and was nominated for the Aperture West Prize and the Santa Fe Prize

 Click here to read reviews of Fieldwork in The New Yorker, Star Tribune, MN Center for Photography, and

These photographs depict peculiar sculptural arrangements I find by chance – ordinary places where little dramas unfold. While Fieldwork refers to the observation and gathering of raw data, it also suggests rough fortifications built from material at hand, like brush and rocks. From ancient, monumental stone circles in an English field to dried grass after snow melt, these are silent pictures that leave the viewer completely alone in the landscape. They were made in the precarious seasons of late fall and early spring, when everything hangs between life, death, and life again.

These are the bones of life laid bare, when color is reduced and branches are left exposed. My photographs have the scratchy, crosshatched look of etchings or pencil drawings so the prints look hand-built, stick by stick. They are printed in platinum-palladium to fully exploit the tonal subtleties of both subject and medium, using traditional photographic practice to describe the grey areas of marginal landscapes.

Fieldwork was made from inside photographic tradition, using the vocabulary and grammar of the medium’s formal history. I used the serendipity of a walk to find meaning in the quietest seasons, when evidence of life is the hardest to find yet it persists, and is all the more hopeful in its tenacity. Above all, these pictures are about the beauty of mystery and the mystery of beauty.

Beth Dow: Fieldwork, Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis (installation photograph by Rik Sferra)

Beth Dow: Fieldwork, Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis (installation photograph by Rik Sferra)