© Naomi White

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Naomi White

Los Angeles, California

Artist Statement

These landscape images were made in Wyoming, on the territory of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Cheyenne, and the Apsaalooké (Crow) tribes. 20% of all artwork earnings from this project go to The Center Pole, a non profit on the Crow Indian Reservation, where they build knowledge, justice, opportunity and prosperity in Native communities.

The socio-political ramifications of our species are ingrained in rocks. Like a camera, rocks record and bear witness to our collective past. In the gasses they trap, every environmental change is stored forever, cataloging the unending story of the destruction of our planet and its inhabitants by a dominant class. They hold an undeniable truth in a world of shifting disinformation.

Rocks are alive.

Excavations explores the complicated role the camera plays in our violent, troubled past and present, and the way systems of oppression perpetuate the Anthropocene. Archival images from American magazines such as Life and National Geographic reveal entrenched ideologies about race, gender, and our relationship to nature, animals, and the planet. The omnipresence of danger, and the urgency to control (the narrative, the body, the earth, the animal) found in these pages, are pervasive and loud themes.

Simultaneously, magazines such as Ebony and Ms. feature activism, strategies for survival, the importance of care, community and hope. These are themes that do not define themselves by what they are not, but by what they can and will be. As an artist working at the intersection of ecology and photography, I am critically exploring the world views that allow and perpetuate societal inequality, the acceptance of the torture and eating of animals, the prohibition of a woman’s right to her own body, and the relationship of these inequities to the climate crisis. I am also reflecting on my own privilege as an environmental activist, white artist and educator, examining where I am situated within these narratives. Making this work allows me to explore how these inequities influence one another, and opens up conversations for change.

Excited by the idea that rocks hold truths in an age of disinformation, I began tearing and burning into my photographs of landscapes, layering them over and over until new spaces emerged. These fissures and cracks make room for connections between the earth and its inhabitants, between the past and future possibilities.

© Naomi White

Naomi White's Portfolio

© Naomi White

Artist Biography

Naomi White is an abolitionist feminist, artist, and educator, working on ideas at the intersection of political ecology and photography. Throughout her work White addresses an array of complex contemporary issues, questioning dominant ethics and narratives throughout history, and asking how we can shift our focus away from the current racist, capitalist model of domination to one of equity and collective voice, for the sake of all people, animals and the planet.

White is the winner of PDN’s Objects of Desire award and has exhibited throughout North America and Europe, including art fairs Scope Miami, Spectrum Miami, and Photo LA. Her work has been published in PDN, The Brooklyn Rail, Cut Me Up, FAYN, and Uncertain States. White has lectured at the Center for Ethics at Cal Poly Pomona, Santa Monica City College, and UCLA Extension. White holds an MFA in Photography and Related Media from SVA in New York, a Post Baccalaureate in Photography from the San Francisco Art institute, and a BA in English Literature from San Francisco State. She teaches and chairs the Photo Arts Conservatory at NYFA, in Los Angeles.



© Naomi White

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