Twelve hertz marks the lowest limit of human hearing, suggesting the powerful yet often imperceptible forces that shape the physical world, from plate tectonics to glacial erosion, to the incomprehensibility of geological time. Made in Oregon, California, Hawaii, and Iceland, Ron Jude’s photographs describe the raw materials of the planet and its systems—lava flows, welded tuff, river and tidal currents, and glacial valleys. Stripped bare of our presence, they allude to the immense scale and veiled mechanics of phenomena that operate independent of human enterprise.
Pivoting away from the myth of human centrality, Jude questions how one depicts the indifference of the nonhuman world to our egocentrism and folly. Is it possible to engage the landscape in a meaningful way without resorting to formal trivialities, moralizing, or personal narrative? His photographs establish a simple premise: that change is constant, whether we are able to perceive it or not. In abandoning the notions of sentiment and beauty found in traditional landscape photography, Ron Jude has created a forceful and challenging statement for the twenty-first century.
We’re living in a defining moment, both politically and environmentally. By making photographs that propose something bigger than the human experience, I hope to provide some perspective and a sense of scale. There is nothing explicitly political or moralistic about this work, but it comes from an acute awareness of our perilous course as a species and the ever-mounting consequences of our arrogance and unchecked consumption. Through photographs of subjects that suggest change on a level that falls outside the limits of our perception, I aim to explore the overlap between beauty, awe and pathos. By stepping back to look at the larger system in flux of which we are only a small part, I want to find my own pulse, as it were, and assert an appropriately scaled sense of being within a hierarchy of this system.—Ron Jude
A lot of things are said, in a lot of places, a lot of words cluster about, and thoughts buzz around them in clouds like flies, and ideas clot within them like disease. And beneath all the words and ideas and thoughts, beneath all the mulched leaves and the plains of ice and the skyscrapers and the piles of car tyres and the coupling of swans on the lake and the restaurant tables and the libraries and the snowfall and the calling of the warriors and the love poems and the marching columns and the mirrors and the calendar customs and the matchboxes and the campion flowers in May and the seagulls and the philosophies and the urn burials and the great plans for the future and the charitable works and the energies burnt in labour and longing across the centuries piled over and forgotten—beneath all of this is Rock.—Paul Kingsnorth, author and cofounder of the Dark Mountain Project