How To Create A More Beautiful Earth: Rhetoric, Engagement, and Photography by Stuart Deets

How to Create a More Beautiful Earth Thumbnail Image


MEDIUM: Photography, Digital Imagery

I developed pictures of the lakes around Madison in said water. Something appears on the surface of the pictures that reminds the viewer of the materiality of the lakes, and of images.

Art and rhetoric are complex systems that depend on inputs. The environment, and ecology, and the lake, are complex systems too. Isolation is not in their nature, for ecology or art. They are both ambivalent. They are like water; they move to fill the shape of the container they are placed in; they are essential to life. Water is always alive, always interconnected with the other water around it. It courses through you. Words can do the same thing, if they’re in the right order and said at the right time in the right way. And for some people, images do the same.  I think one of the great things about these pictures is that you can see the lakes on the image, because I developed the pictures in water from the lakes.  It’s tempting to get frustrated, to be afraid, to feel small in the face of something as big as the slow violence of climate and environmental change.  So what does that have to do with rhetoric? Well, it turns out, everything. The lakes are our common, and we’ve got to negotiate our life in common. We can get there through art.  We deserve beauty that is not just beauty, but that makes us feel something because of what it means. I hope this art project makes you pay attention to the beauty that is all around us. If we are gracious enough to grateful for that, then we will have real hope at last.

Here is a slideshow video created by the Digital Salon team to show all of the images from this project:

Below is a gallery of some highlighted images: