Renate Aller did not set out to become a landscape photographer, but she is now among the leaders of those photographic artists who are rethinking the genre at a time of environmental and political upheaval.
– Lyle Rexer for photograph magazine
COMMENSALISM is a relationship between organisms of different species in which one derives some benefit while the other is unaffected nor harmed.
Humans benefit from nature, and we should not harm it in return.
We are part of nature, made stronger by our interconnectedness. Echoing the forms of the landscape, I pair an image of the human body to mirror our presence.
Another way to look at it is the observation that we are hosts to microorganisms who are such a large part of us that we cannot define ourselves as being a separate entity.
Climate change is altering where water is being stored – shifting water from earth,
glaciers and ice bodies to the oceans. My work creates a visual journey of
the hydrologic cycle, finishing in New York City’s harbor.
The series highlights how all Earth’s systems are linked by water and that impact
and the effect is dispersed geographically. For humans this impact will mainly be felt in
coastal cities, but this global problem will affect different communities disproportionately.
I intentionally pairs images, showing the interconnectedness of distant
environments, opening up conversations between the different emotional, political
and actual landscapes in which we live.
Ancient Wisdom of the Juniper Trees
“This desert is serenading me every day and every hour in a different form. The hard storms with the bashing water down pours changing into a soft rain, moistening the dry desert air opening my nostrils to the potent but gentle scents of the sage bushes and juniper trees. I inhale deeply and don’t want this moment to pass, a smell that cannot be bottled or kept by merely picking a branch. It is only available in the moist air and thereafter in my memory.
This high valley is surrounded by hills and beyond those high snow-covered mountains which collect the moisture and allow tree vegetation to cling to its side, one of the oldest living species of tree.
The vegetation is far from hesitant, though short and wind beaten, protecting the clay-like earth by spreading her curved branches with her tiny but hardy leaves. In reciprocity, the earth nourishes the plants with minerals.
These old trees emulate old wise people whose graceful appearance enhances with age, their shapes bent by harsh winds, hugging the landscape in their elegance.
Walking through the juniper groves in the Nevada desert with my boots brushing against the sage, I feel welcomed. My camera becomes the extension of my eyes and I don’t care about the outcome of these photos. My presence in these groves, an experience that has its value in the very moment. I understand the meaning of community, the strength of the interconnectedness of nature – and as we are a part of this nature it feels good to be welcomed and not feel like an intruder.
I am promising to become a keeper of their memories.”
EXHIBITION REVIEWED BY
“Staged elegantly at Santa Fe’s Chiaroscuro Gallery, the series marks a fantastic artistic and creative leap for Aller, showing off her newfound presence in the world of landscape photography. It may be a new love, but her mastery of the lens is apparent throughout, and in tandem with her delicate stills of the human body, Commensalism proves to be one of the most interesting photography exhibitions in the current scene.”- Max Wiener, MUSÉE MAGAZINE