Nadav Kander

 
 

Whether the subject is a sweeping landscape or a pensive portrait of the President of the United States, Nadav Kander’s photographs are imbued by his distinctive atmosphere of poignant consideration and a kind of concentrated reflection. Kander received the prestigious Prix Pictet Prize in 2009 and was named International Photographer of the Year at the 7th Annual Lucie Awards in 2009. 


Taken from his series of photographs of the American landscape and suburbs entitled ‘God’s Country’, ‘Monument, Utah, USA, 1995’ touches on a theme central to Kander’s work – the impact of human presence on our surrounding environment. The scale of the image seems somehow improbable, the ant-like human figure impossibly tiny in the vast desert scene, dwarfed by a crumbling and obscure monument. There is a certain distance in Kander’s photographs which confounds a normal sense of scale or depth, and which creates a sense of the surreal. The dreamy coloration of the image heightens its strangeness – the blushing pink skies and pale blue snow could perhaps be an image of a different planet entirely. Contemplative and evocative, ‘Monument, Utah, USA, 1995’ is a transporting artwork with existential reverberations.


‘Spanish Moss, Louisiana, USA, 1997’ is an image of a primordial, primeval forest, its deep shadows punctuated with electric green mosses and a glowing pink mist. Treading a fine line between serenity and melancholy, 'Spanish Moss' is haunting but beautiful – a signature paradox of the artist’s best work. Unusually for Kander, this image includes no human presence and no evidence of human impact. This absence of an identifying sense of scale, combined with the reflection of the trees upon the surface of the water, creates an atmospheric hugeness with echoes of Caspar David Friedrich’s romantic landscape paintings. Part of a tradition of environmentally-conscious landscape photography that stretches back to Ansel Adams, Kander’s grandiose but finely detailed landscapes make him a photographic master of the post-modern sublime.