Eirik Johnson: Sawdust Mountain
Text by Tess Gallagher, Elizabeth Brown. Poem by David Guterson.
A culmination of four years of photographing throughout Oregon, Washington and Northern California, Sawdust Mountain focuses on the tenuous relationship between industries reliant upon natural resources and the communities they support. Timber and salmon are the bedrock of a regional Northwest identity, but the environmental impact of these declining industries has been increasingly at odds with the contemporary ideal of sustainability. In this, his second book, Johnson reveals a landscape imbued with an uncertain future--no longer the region of boomtowns built upon the riches of massive old-growth forests. Johnson, a Seattle native, describes his photographs as, "a melancholy love letter of sorts, my own personal ramblings..." Through this poetic approach, Sawdust Mountain records a region affected by historic economic complexities and, by extension, one aspect of our fraught relationship with the environment in the twenty-first century.
Eirik Johnson, born in Seattle in 1974, is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, George Eastman House and Aperture Gallery. His first book, Borderlands, was awarded the Santa Fe Prize for Photography in 2005.