As global temperatures rise, this work is my response to the unprecedented increase in the extremity of wildfires around the world. Since 2018 I have travelled to California, Australia, Greece, Canada and Colorado to document the aftermath of fires that had destroyed homes, killed numerous people and burnt millions of acres of land. All these areas had experienced some of their highest temperatures ever recorded, precipitating these infernos. One of my subjects described fleeing from a “fire-breathing monster, spitting flames everywhere”.
I choose not to document the burning fires, but rather to seek out their aftermath, the traces left behind on lives and landscapes.
The Portraits in Ashes series is the central narrative thread in this body of work. Framed by the skeletons of their burnt homes my subjects pause and engage the camera with dignity and resilience, inviting us to engage with the devastated world that surrounds them. To create coherent images and tell this story effectively within such visual chaos, I have found that I need to compose the images with extreme precision.
In this repeated act of portraiture, I am trying to create a systematic typology of climate change.
Rhonda Rossbach, Derek Briemand and Autumn Briemand
The Montagner Family (Fina, Anthony, Christian and Dylan)
New South Wales
The Way Station Bar
Sheriff Todd Johns
Greenville Sheriff Department and Prison
Dennis ‘Butch’ Douglas
The Masonic Lodge building