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Photographer's Showcase: Dave Jordano's Terra-Caelum

Terra-Caelum #15, 2009 by Dave Jordano
We are happy to present a new portfolio of images from long-time Photographer's Showcase artist Dave Jordano: Terra-Caelum from his Prairieland series.

After spending over 30 years as a commercial photographer, in 2001 Dave Jordano returned to the documentary photography career he began as a student at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. The Chicago Bridge Project was the first in a number of powerful photographic series' from Jordano documenting the Midwest, shooting everything from the abandoned Chanute Air Force Base to duck blinds along the Mississippi. Jordano's series Articles of Faith, a detailed look at the spaces and totems of African American store-front churches in the south and west side neighborhoods of Chicago, was published as a book by the Center for American Places in 2009.

Next came Prairieland, a comprehensive documentation of the small towns of Illinois, where Jordano photographed the towns and people and spaces they live in, as well as the land itself. In the Terra-Caelum portfolio from the Prairieland series, Jordano focuses on the nearly 22,400,000 acres of farmland that make up Illinois. Though nicknamed the Prairie State, the landscape has been long manipulated by generations of farming, creating a landscape of ridged lines and flat horizons.

Terra-Caelum #7, 2008 -- Dave Jordano
"On the surface these images all share a similar visual vocabulary, hinging on a mix of abstract and formalistic practices, but more importantly what they all have in common are the physical markings caused by the thousands of farmers who have cultivated, reshaped, and altered their form, thereby creating a new landscape that is utilitarian in nature, but not necessarily natural." -- Dave Jordano

The beauty in these scenes is subtle -- there is no voluminous foliage to excite the eye, no bright colors or figures to break up the view. We are confronted with the simplicity of the fields, and left to find an often overlooked beauty in the texture of the land and the gentle play between sky and earth; elements that come out more clearly in comparison as one views the complete portfolio. 

Terra-Caelum #36, 2010 -- Dave Jordano
View Dave Jordano's work on the Photographer's Showcase, including Terra-Caelum and portraits from his Prairieland series, as well as images from the Chanute Air Force Base, here.

Articles of Faith by Dave Jordano

Jordano's book, Articles of Faith published by the Center for American Places, can be found here.

For additional information about Dave Jordano or to acquire one of his photographs, please contact the gallery at (505) 988-5152 x202 or by email.