These photographs explore my relationship to place—physical, cultural, metaphorical—over ten years, in generally desolate surroundings.

In the early Nineteen-nineties I lived in Providence, Rhode Island, in a landscape at turns overgrown and barren. New England row houses abutted empty lots and crumbling husks of factories, all joined in a web of trees, weeds, cyclone fences, and high tension wires. Layers of growth and decay confounded attempts at easy interpretation. The landscape, formed largely by accident and neglect, felt somehow like the work of a larger process. I saw an unconscious synergy in the work of people, plants, and erosion that had shaped these spaces over many years. When I moved and continued the project in an industrial section of Brooklyn, the mix of these elements changed, but the underlying sensibility stayed the same. There was much to explore beneath the surfaces of desolation and trash.

I titled the work Wilderness in response to these impressions. The word has held different meanings for different cultures over the years, but has usually conveyed a sense of mystery, of otherness, and of escape from the borders of the comfortable and the known. Wilderness  has named what we fear but at the same time long for, often with a sense that there, away from the comfort and attachments of our everyday lives, we might somehow find ourselves.


Prints are available in gold-toned gelatin silver or carbon pigment ink . Each image is available at a single size, either 4 x 5 contact prints size, 5 x 7-1/2 inches, or 9 x 11-1/2 inches.

Silver prints are in editions of varying sizes up to ten. Ink prints are in editions of 20.

Silver prints are $1500 regardless of size.
Ink prints are $900 regardless of size.
Wilderness prints come corner-mounted to an archival window mat.


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Paul Raphaelson