Show Caves is a compelling photo series by Los Angeles-based photographer, Austin Irving. On first glance Austin’s photographs are immediately absorbing, showing vast topographical caves illuminated with multi-coloured lighting. However Show Caves is far more compelling in context than just its aesthetic. As a series the photographs explore “the anthropocentric tendencies of modern tourism seen in domestic and international show caves,” explains the photographer.
Austin herself is a graduate from the department of photography and imaging at TISCH School of the Arts at New York University, who has since had her work exhibited globally. For this series the objective is to “highlight the tension that exists between the staggering natural beauty of caves and the renovations people make in order to transform these spaces into spectacular tourist attractions”. Within her artist’s statement Austin identifies that “these caverns have been curated to cater to both the physical needs of sightseers as well as to our collective expectation of the fantasy cave. Elaborate lighting, elevators, poured cement trails, even bathrooms and souvenir stands have been added so that ancient geological wonders can be accessible and marketable to a money-giving public”.
Shot on location in Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Mexico, Virginia, Arizona, New York and Tennessee, the work questions whether “these additions [are] acts of vandalism disrupting a delicate eco-system for the sake of commercial profit?” Or alternatively, “do these human interventions draw attention to the preservation of caves and make hard-to-access natural wonders readily available for appreciation?” Either way, the series is both magical and thought provoking.
- Fear of a flat planet: Heatherwick Studio’s adventures with clay
- Graphic designer Braulio Amado picks out his favourite posters of 2016 from his new book
- Nice Threads, Mate embroiders throwaway British culture in incredible detail
- The high-powered fashion photography of duo Florence & Nicolas
- Beehives, blondes and boobs: Dolly Faibyshev photographs Dollypalooza
- Bold Decisions tests a type specimen’s form in personable font, Lars
- The return of the hovering art director: we asked comic artist Nadine Redlich to peer inside agency life
- YouTube releases its first own-brand font, YouTube Sans, inspired by the play button
- Photographer Raymond Rojas captures the “magic” in Disneyland Paris
- How to go freelance: need-to-know advice from creatives who made it
- Paul Rand’s IBM Graphic Standards Manual to be reissued
- Stefan Sagmeister speaks to It's Nice That about The Beauty Project