A collection of photographs by Sarah Pfohl called The County Line Road is featured in the Biblio Gallery on the 4th floor of Bird Library from July 3 to August 30, 2013. Pfohl is a third-year MFA graduate student in Art Photography at SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts.
In reflecting on her photography, Pfohl says:
Human life relies on the natural resources housed, cultivated, and stewarded in rural areas for survival. This importance is uncomplicated but oftentimes overlooked. To construct a visual representation of the rural as the close interrelationship between plants, land, and humans, I photograph a rural place with a human figure in it and use composition, light/shadow interplay, and scale to visually integrate the ground and figure. Plants play a central role in the images as the human figure places her body to serve as their backdrop, alters her posture and gesture to repeat their shape, or allows her face or body to be fragmented by the surrounding plant structures.
I made these photographs in southern Madison County, New York within the 26-acre tract of rural land my immediate and extended family has lived on since 1960. As the natural resources housed, or purported to be housed, across and within the land draw attention to southern Madison County from outside developers the place–like many rural areas in the United States–has become a contested territory. The construction of the rural as the interrelationship between plants, land, and humans, embedded compositionally and conceptually into this body of work, argues for a thoughtful and accountable process of rural development that anchors decisions regarding land use in the need for the rural all people intrinsically have.
The human figure in these photographs is my Mother. She grew up on a farm, teaches 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade science, and has lived in rural New York for 52 years. I choose to photograph my Mother as her interactions with the powerful steadfastness of both the plant-life and land in this place over the course of her life have authored her physical appearance.
Additional photographs from this project can be viewed at http://sarahpfohl.com/the-county-line-road.