2- Stacked logs in Weyerhaeuser sort yard, Cosmopolis, Washington
3- Adult books, firewood, and truck for sale, Port Angeles, Washington
4- Rogue River, Oregon
All visuals are taken from Eirik Johnson's book Sawdust Mountain (Aperture/Henry Art Gallery, 2009)
The rural dream of the woodman's cabin is fast dissolving into a mountain of sawdust.
A native of the Pacific North-West, photographer Eirik Johnson roamed the region for four years. He wandered along the banks of rivers Hoh, Siuslaw, Sol Duc, Elwha; near small towns heavily dependent on the wood and fish trades - Sappho, Aberdeen, Arlington, South Bend; he roved across the whole of Oregon and Washington State, through the clearings left by dozens of trees freshly cut, the abandoned offices of logging companies and the old dams, timeworn, obsolete, sublime, that will keep blocking for a few more years the passage of a half-million fish towards one of North America's most important fluvial ecosystems.
Far from the mythology of the settler, isolated in the heart of an awesome wilderness, yet free to extract from it the natural resources necessary to his survival and subsequent prosperity, and bequeathing this legacy to the ensuing generations, Eirik Johnson's world is a breathless one, asphyxiated by the ravenous appetite of the civilized world. His pictures resist the temptation of sophistication. An approach whose results, raw and seemingly unmanufactured, sometimes recall Joel Sternfeld's recent Oxbow Archive (2008). This mimetic photography, exquisitely attuned to the environment it picks up, lets us feel the damp cold that pervades the landscapes we visit. It is our task to distance ourselves, and build our panorama of the earnest Northwest from the pieces Johnson entrusts to us.
Eirik Johnson, Sawdust Mountain, Aperture/Henry Art Gallery, 2009
The book's page on www.aperture.org