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COVID19 Reflections

Courtesy of Dharam Khalsa

Dharam Khalsa

Irish guy raised as a Sikh in Texas and sent to boarding school in India. Lived in nyc and Austin, after a life changing injury photography found me. Currently a student trying make good work and further myself as a photographer.

SECOND PLACE: Untitled in the Corona Age

I wanted to challenge myself to document people I know who were isolating during our city's shelter in place orders in front of where they were isolating. I wanted to follow the guidelines and protocols diligently so I put an open call in my story up on my Instagram. I only wanted to document them as they were with whatever emotions or moods they were in, one of my friends had his birthday, and this motivated me to ask them about their situations and how they were each coping. I told them I was going to drive up, have them come out however they would like, (roommates, pets, significant others), and shoot their portrait and leave. As the project came to fruition I wanted to expand, so I photographed people in front of their work, homeless people in front of their tents, empty streets, boarded up businesses, and empty highways, the interstate highway as well. Here I've submitted some of the portraits from this project.

Into the Anthropocene. I investigate places throughout the Western United States where the natural ecosystem has been altered or destroyed to provide for our burgeoning populations. In the Palouse grasslands - now wheat fields - of eastern Washington, a mono-crop landscape terraformed through agricultural commerce creates a sense of bucolic perfection while disguising the underlying impact of single crop planting. Old and new energy extraction techniques are compared using images from the largest thermal solar plant on earth at Ivanpah in California, and the Cholla coal burning power plant near Winslow, AZ. Finally, the “bathtub ring” high water mark - which will never again be attained - at Lake Mead in Arizona illustrates how the demand for water has changed the landscape. In each location, I was simultaneously dazzled and disturbed by the scope of these transformations - many occurring in my lifetime. What was revealed I found compelling - strangely alien but completely human. By allowing human intervention to speak over the landscape itself in my images, I imagine a new landscape, more of its Age, that expresses dilemmas faced when considering exploitation or preservation. 

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