Date of Degree
MFA (Master of Fine Arts)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
While traveling home from work we may glance out our windows at these industrial structures whose fluorescent lights glow throughout the night. These places, often located on the outskirts of the cityscape, leave the viewer with a mix set of emotions. First, our reactions to the height, shape and form, whose towers and beams stretch high into the sky, loom over our tiny human frames. Regardless of the beauty that may be offered to the viewer at first glance, there is an underlying feeling of disgust and disregard, as these manufacturing plants stand as the agents of our environment issues in this era.
This initial, fleeting, sense of wonder is what draws me to these locations as a photographer. There is a type of ordered rhythm that these locations embody, a type of ceaseless production whose beauty is within the confines of its method of production. Every pipe and tube has a specific purpose, which leads to uniformity in shape and positioning. Every light is set to illuminate the space, not only for functionality, but also for security. Every road, wall and doorway is placed just so in order to maximize efficiency. These places manufacture, process, and ship raw materials in vast sums every single day all across the globe. They provide us with all the tools and materials we need to make our society function, but more importantly, they allow us to transform our surroundings into whatever we may choose. Inside, engines thump and grind at a steady pace. Conveyor belts hum as they slide down their tracks. Outside, a truck comes in through the entrance to pick up its order, followed by another, and still another after that.
In following some of the same techniques laid out by photographers before me, my hope is to capture the massive amount of details and nuisances of these locations. The night skies serve as the constant throughout these images, grounding these locations in the same timeframe; at once connecting them in this fashion, but also allowing each of them to be it's own unique structure as they reach up into the black sky in varying fashions. My hope for the viewer lies in a reassessment of these locations. While they do presume, as any images of industrial locations do of this era, to speak about the connection between manufacturing and environmental issues, my hope is that they are able to offer much more. While they are connected with these problems, they are also connected with the solutions to these problems, and in this regard, deserve a second glance, and hopefully, a second evaluation of their aesthetic qualities.
Industrial, Industry, Monuments, Photography
v, 16 pages
Copyright 2014 Matthew John Weber
Weber, Matthew John. "Industrial monuments." MFA (Master of Fine Arts) thesis, University of Iowa, 2014.