In Spite of Evidence

Ethan Jones

2017 - 2019

These photographs were made in places where the Northwest Passage wasn’t found. Many explorers over several centuries assumed the passage was just beyond a series of rapids, or a little farther upstream, or over a mountain range—somewhere just beyond their field of vision. It never was. Any semblance of a passage was only recently revealed by the destructive melting of polar ice above North America, demonstrating how our unyielding influence on nature has finally coerced the landscape to fit an imagined, yet outdated view of the world.

My photographs are inspired by the erroneous cartography, wishful thinking, and unyielding persistence that psychologically fueled the foolhardy expeditions for the Northwest Passage. The collective centuries-long search demonstrates a human desire to impose our will on something much larger than ourselves, without concern for results or its effects. Over time, this attitude has turned into an ongoing cultural relationship with the landscape that eschews evidence in favor of personal vision and confirmation bias. My photographs wrestle with this legacy and its impact on how we have observed, classified, modified, and changed the landscape. To that end, I photograph from vantage points and along waterways looking for signs of our interaction with the landscape and environment. I seek out instances where the landscape appears malleable, under our influence, and in the midst of ongoing change. In this context, change feels ominous—appearing as evidence of plans gone awry and revealing the destruction of our known environment. Recording the landscape as it changes is an attempt to understand how we got to this point while wondering what lies ahead.

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  • Chanhassen.

  • Hudson River. New York

  • Ottawa.

  • Lachine Rapids. Montreal

  • Montmorency Falls. Quebec City

  • Crown Point.

  • Missouri River. Chamberlain

  • Côte d'Abraham. Quebec City

  • Fort Stevens.

  • Minneapolis.

  • Saint Lawrence River. Quebec City

  • Hastings.

  • Dayton's Bluff. Saint Paul

  • Bassin de Chambly. Chambly

  • Chicoutimi River. Saguenay

  • Levis.

  • Lake Superior. Duluth

  • Mississippi River. Minneapolis

  • Saint Lawrence River. Tadoussac

  • Chaska.