ASX.TV: Mitch Epstein – “American Power” (2011)

Welcome to Photography Exposed, a podcast series for beginner, intermediate, and advanced photographers. For our first episode, we are excited to have Mitch Epstein visit us at Washington College and discuss American Power, his new photo book that asks everyone to look harder at their daily relationship with power.

In American Power, Mitch Epstein investigates notions of power, both electrical and political. His focus is on energy — how it gets made, how it gets used, and the ramifications of both. From 2003 to 2008, he photographed at and around sites where fossil fuel, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, and solar power are produced in the United States. The resulting photographs contain Epstein’s signature complex wit, surprising detail, and formal rigor.

These pictures illuminate the intersection between American society and American landscape. Here is a portrait of early 21st century America, as it clings to past comforts and gropes for a more sensible future. In an accompanying essay, Epstein discusses his method, and how making these photographs led him to think harder about the artist’s role in a country teetering between collapse and transformation.

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