Daniel George | Rexburg ID, United States

Short bio:
Daniel George is an artist and educator, whose interests in photography are in land interpretation and use, and how these things reference culture. He graduated with an MFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design, where he was the recipient of the department’s outstanding achievement award. His work has been exhibited in galleries across the United States, and has been featured in numerous online publications, including Fraction Magazine, Feature Shoot, Flak Photo, and Oxford American: Eyes on the South. He is currently based out of Rexburg, Idaho, where he is a visiting faculty member at Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Why do you photograph on film?
My main reason for shooting film is because of the negative’s tangible connection to the subject of the photograph. The light that reflects off a subject rearranges the silver halides in the film emulsion, so a negative retains a physical trace of that individual/object from that moment in time. They are artifacts that literally contain evidence from the past, and I collect them. This idea plays no conceptual role in my photographic work, however it is something I often think about when I handle negatives post processing.

What is your work about?
In the American West, areas of land ignored by early settlers were once described as “the lands nobody wanted.” These places, now publicly owned and overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, are recognized by communities as socially, economically, and environmentally valuable. After moving to the Upper Snake River Valley of Southeast Idaho, I began exploring some of these areas in order to familiarize myself with the region’s geography, and how local residents make use of it. Almost immediately, I started noticing artifacts left behind by individuals who utilize the expanses of open desert for recreational purposes—the most prevalent being target shooting. Through photography, I am documenting this specific aspect of land use as an investigation of rural, Intermountain West culture, and environmental stewardship. In order to more intricately describe this relationship, I am recording both abandoned objects, and individuals within the landscape. A fascination with physical remnants that allude to culture prompted my examination of the artifacts, while an inclination to meet locals, and discuss the environmental impacts of target shooting led me to seek out portrait subjects. These images represent my examination of the complexity of a particular social use of land, and its ecological consequences.