Jeff Brouws


Photographs always exist in a context—they are laden with social or political meaning. I have explored this idea in my work for twenty years. Feeling a philosophical kinship with the New Topographics Movement from the 1970s that documented the impact of the constructed suburban world on the natural one, I wanted to invert that premise by looking at the urban core and asking how suburbanization after World War II affected city centers in America. What were the consequences as we went from a city-dwelling lifestyle based on mass transportation, high density living, and production to a suburban, car-dependent, low-density lifestyle based on consumption?

Excerpt from Jeff Brouws - Discarded Landscape, for

Aesthetically-speaking I'm also attracted to minimalism; how does a photographer achieve a certain potency within the image utilizing an economy of means? Something that has great descriptive powers can be stripped down. That might seem counter-intuitive. I think of the spare language and simple words of Raymond Carver's short stories for instance. They have great emotional resonance without being fancy or over blown. I often seek that kind of visual brevity. Someone once said "the first move to make in a creative act is the one of restraint." Perhaps, quiet restrained landscapes match the emotional tenor of what I'm trying to impart with these images.

Excerpt from Photo Talks with Jeff Brouws for

Glen Rubsamen


My pictorial investigations are characterized by a documentary interest in compiling, like collectibles, situations in nature of great dramatic intensity, such as sunrises and sunsets, exuberant vegetation or images of the apocalypse. Working primarily as a painter but also with drawing and printmaking, I am attempting to isolate the idea of a "post-nature" defined as a place were space is shrinking, where objects in the landscape play no part in any synthesis; they have no memory, they simply bear witness during a journey. In my view of "post-nature," beauty is not lost: it has just become ambivalent. These characteristics in my work, combined with the absence of human presence, the tendency towards monochrome and the lack of spatio-temporal references create an atmosphere charged with austere quietude and spirituality. I paint a nature where the organic appears in artificial images.