"I have an affinity for a minimalist aesthetic, so ultimately the desert became my prime field of inquiry for a couple of reasons. One of them is the light. Because of the lack of moisture in the atmosphere, the edges are a lot sharper. I like landscapes where I can really see what’s there."
-- Mark Ruwedel
Mark Ruwedel is an artist who has been photographing American deserts and other remote locations for over 25 years, pursuing epic-scaled projects, on railroad construction, Pre-Columbian sites, the landscapes of nuclear weapons, and more recently, failed attempts to live in the harsh environment of the desert.
With an affinity for stark, barren landscapes that are otherwise uninhabited, Ruwedel found solace in the desert as it soon became his primary field of inquiry to explore subtle perceptions about the historical versus contemporary in landscape photography.
Influenced by photographers Lewis Baltz and Robert Adams, Ruwedel's works does not only overlap the ideas of the landscape and histories the place represents, but also the histories of picture-making. He uses land as a suitable place for social inquisition by studying each intricate history of the American or Canadian West and producing mesmerizing black-and-white photographs of the grades, cuts, tunnels, trestles, and craters of his immediate surroundings to reveal narratives - both geological and human - contained within. The images are wrought with history as the land reveals itself as being both an agent of geological processes and a field of human endeavor.
Mark Ruwedel has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, and has published extensively. His most recent publications are Seventy-Two and One Half Miles Across Los Angeles (MACK, 2020) and Ouarzazate (MACK, 2018). Ruwedel has been shortlisted for the 2021 Prix Pictet, the global award in photography and sustainability, and part of their exhibition, Fire, at the Victoria and Albert Museum later this year. His work is held in extensive museum collections including the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, TATE Modern, National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Canada, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Ruwedel is currently photographing in and around Los Angeles.