Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison are a husband-and-wife team who work together to produce artistic photographs using a range of techniques. In the particular collection I chose to focus on, The Architect's Brother, the ParkeHarrisons use collage, painted photographs, photogravures and other alternative darkroom processes in order to fabricate photographs, creating surreal landscapes highlighted by the use of monochromatic warm-tone sepia. In each photograph, Robert ParkeHarrison is dressed in a black suit and starched white suit, playing the 'Everyday Man' in empty, barren landscapes, performing some kind of task attempting to save "landscapes scarred by technology and overuse" (Robert ParkeHarrison). In each photo there is some element of surrealism that is often created through photomontage or painting techniques, such that the pieces "metaphorically and poetically link labourious actions, idosyncratic rituals and stangely crude machines into tales about our modern experience" (RPH). Each image features the interaction between man and nature, addressing issues about the environment and responsibility mankind holds to reverse the damage dealt to the earth.
"Inherent in this civilization of consumption and technology is the waste and destruction of the vulnerable earth. The mythic world we create in our photographs mirrors our world, where nature is domesticated and controlled. The scenes we depict however, display futile attempts to save or rejuvenate nature. We portray these attempts within our work by inventing machines and contraptions from junk and obsolete equipment. These contraptions are intended to help the character we portray to jump-start a dying planet. We patch holes in the sky, create rain machines, chase storms to create electricity, communicate with the earth to learn its needs. Within these scenes, we create less refined, less scientific, more ritualistic and poetic possibilities to work with nature rather than destroy it."
- Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison.