2018 “Alternative Energy”, Harrison Brammell’s photographic series, showcases various settings of the American West. This body of work highlights the fractal changes our landscapes are witnessing, from mass tourism to the development of large neighborhoods and communities. This is an endeavor to realize how we humans are able to live and interact with our physical world. Choosing to work in areas that he had previously visited such as California, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, Brammell has spent three years photographing and re-photographing select areas that he has seen a noticeable change in.
This series utilizes digital technologies to showcase the era we currently live in - a digital age where technology rules. Technology documents where we are and how we live, and it is encountered in some form in many so called natural areas designed to enjoy nature. To Brammell it seems important to use a modern and technical piece of digital machinery to create an uncharacteristic body of photographs. These images aim to achieve a similar characteristic to pointillism - specifically intimately-scaled, meticulously-rendered drawings on paper. Landscape photography of the American West is seen more in a traditionalist sense. Brammell’s intent is to break these boundaries and use technology in his favor. In Brammell’s approach towards his work, the history of photography is very relevant. This history, dating back to the 19th century, is filled with references to drawings, including William Henry Fox Talbot’s book, “The Pencil of Nature”. Brammell turns this history on its head. Rather than presenting drawings that resemble photographs, Brammell uses digital technology to reverse the process – and present photographs that resemble drawings.
In the Disintegration works, each individual piece starts out as a recognizable image of a landscape but ultimately melds into an abstract work. Brammell’s focus is to use the irreversible process of removing physical elements of an image. Each work is deleted in segments until the final result is reached. The idea is to gradually take a physical element away from the image, while still leaving a trace of the action and of the hand to show that the image was made with singular motions. The unaltered form of the work compositions is further complicated by the introduction of painterly mark-making, which is incorporated in both the objects being photographed and the photographs themselves. These actions transform the photograph into a screen through which the composition is gradually developed, examined, and remade.
Brammell has “literally” blurred the lines of photography. By taking a very recognizable landscape, such as a canyon vast plato, he has created a sense of confusion for the viewer by manufacturing a visual wall that blocks the viewer from reality. These photographs are presented in various sizes – very large as well as very intimate.
2013-17 “A Wondrous Land”, Harrison Brammell’s photographic series is a group of large format photographs showcasing expanses of the American West and other areas across the globe. The photographs capture the vast scale and openness of these pristine and untouched landscapes. With the rapid rise in property development throughout the world, these natural and unscathed lands will unfortunately cease to exist or undergo dramatic change in the near future. Brammell seeks to bring the viewer to them before the hands of man scar or ruin their perfection.
In producing the photographs, Brammell employs a reduction or minimalist attribute along the lines of the methods used by Robert Ryman and Donald Judd. By reducing the images to their simplest terms - their barest bones - the artist creates a very simple "blank slate" for each viewer to interpret. The photographs enable viewers to envision their own sense of space and reality in the landscape and to find themselves in the photograph. The sense of nothingness embodied in the landscape's vastness is designed to set the mind at ease.
The photographs reflect the evolution of Brammell’s techniques from a small photographic format to various formats and techniques such as a 4x5, 8x10,and digital with various elements of scale, color, and overall composition. By incorporating various monochromatic techniques into his photography, in "Expanse" Brammell uses various shades and color in the foreground that become repetitive in each photograph. This technique accentuates the overall simplicity of the works.
This series is an endeavor to help articulate the unimaginable and visualize a disappearing and enigmatic landscape.