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Creative Research Lab

Plots and Schemes - April 2005

photograph by Jennifer Little

Jennifer Little
Waller Creek at 14th St., Austin, TX, 2004
from Barriers and Conduits: Viewing the Urban Landscape series
archival inkjet print

My photographic series, "Barriers and Conduits: Viewing the Urban Landscape," uses the language of surrealism through reflection to juxtapose forms and structures that are opposites within a single image. Common juxtapositions in my work include interior and exterior, natural and manmade, land and water, sky and ground, top and bottom, isolation and population, and underworld and overworld. By placing these opposites adjacent to each other within the same image, some overlap or bleeding begins to occur in the visual representation of the opposites, implying that the divisions between them may not be nearly as clean cut as it first appeared, thus creating surprising connections between the opposing forces. The bridge depicted in these images can be seen as a metaphor for the connections between the opposites being juxtaposed. the constant noise, congestion, movement, and flux of the busy city street surface above each of these bridges stands in stark contrast to the peaceful, quiet, pastoral remove of the contained, hidden, and more naturally wild space just below the same bridge. The rigid, manmade structure of the bridge in these photographs literally becomes a frame within the image, containing a view of a very marginal urban landscape. These photographs are about the near intersection of two conduits running in perpendicular directions: the man-made conduit of the road and the natural conduit of the creek, stream, or river.