For a while now I have had a fascination with internal and artificial landscapes. It is a theme which has threaded it's way through much of the work I have made so far in the USA and whenever I am lucky enough to see and be in one, I always feel strongly compelled to photograph them.
I am interested in the illusion and the fantasy these places attempt to create and sometimes (in terms of my Cage series) their grim reality too. I love the theatre and suspension of disbelief which goes with standing in a themed museum for example. I always find that these artificial landscapes jar heavily with my own dreams, ideals and experiences and they are always, ultimately, strange, floored and sadly human.
These artificial and internal landscapes often force me to consider my own real life experience of landscapes which I have stood or lived in and questions what I have done with them myself, psychically. I think we are all filled with a lifetime - a history of landscapes, which have themselves, in turn, become a part of who we are as individuals. They become part of our own mental geography, full of archetypes, symbols and markers - integrating themselves inside, with special and personal significance. I always find it interesting and amazing, for example, when a landscape I have recently (or not recently) experienced suddenly becomes the location of a dream I have had. Why has this particular landscape or place been chosen to play out the drama of this dreams events at this time? It is something I find endlessly fascinating..
These photographs were made last weekend in Wemego, Kansas at the excellent and well worth visiting 'Wizard of OZ' museum and marked my three year anniversary since moving to the United States.
Here is what their website says about it:
"What words could be more appropriate when describing the dream of a small community that literally built a museum out of a rainbow's notion? It took the brains of a small group of leaders, the heart for what L. Frank Baum began in 1900 as a simple children's book and the courage to take on the task of constructing a home for over 2,000 artifacts dating from 1900 to today.
The OZ museum was built with a major grant from the State of Kansas and the generosity of the people of this small community, who also provided thousands of hours of volunteer time. The museum houses more than just memorabilia from the famous 1939 MGM musical starring Judy Garland! It encompasses earlier silent films, one of which starred none other than Oliver Hardy (Laurel and Hardy fame) as the Tin Man as well as "The Wiz" starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.
The OZ Museum offers everything imaginable from the earliest Baum books and OZ Parker Brothers board games to today's collectibles that can be purchased in Auntie Em's Gift Shop. The OZ Museum is dedicated to ALL things OZ. It is a treasure trove of delight and wonder and thrills visitors young and "young at heart."
Of course I did make lots of photographs of the actual exhibits and artifacts on display and I may post some of them here at a later date.