About This Project

Ryland West


Portraits of Ephemerality

Portraits of Ephemerality is a photographic series combining traditional landscape photography with contemporary portrait lighting to isolate the fragile elements of the natural environment most immediately impacted by climate change. Like fossils, this work creates an impression of land glacier’s physical forms in an ever-changing environment. In choosing to establish an anthropomorphic relationship to the environment the ice is photographed as a human portrait. Through an obscuration of scale each piece appeals to the sublimity associated to the glacier’s fragility encouraging a closer look at these remote and unstable areas. With the abundance of polarizing images of the disappearing Arctic it has been found that these photos are more likely to distance and disengage an audience. Through studio-style lighting and techniques reminiscent of photographers such as the Becher’s and Reuban Wu, Portraits of Ephemerality aims to illuminate the human-caused irreversible destruction and establish a positive association to inspire, value, and encourage active change.



7th edition