United States of America born 1952
Longest day, last light of the solstice, Carefree, Arizona, 6/21/84
Arizona, United States of America
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph Impression: 13/50
Klett’s work has always been concerned with the historical intersection of photography and human exploration and utilisation of the land. At university, he initially trained to be a geologist and during summers while a graduate student at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, he worked for the United States Geological Survey in Wyoming and Montana. This strong interest in science and art is ever present in his work. He formed a deep understanding of the desert southwest—its unique ecosystems, light, and culture—when he relocated to Tempe, Arizona in 1982. He photographed the iconic saguaro extensively over the following decades.
Klett uses a large-format view camera and his images reflect the discipline, austerity and clarity of nineteenth-century photographic practice that he has studied and reflected upon so intently. From the early 1980s Klett increasingly sought a personal approach to his work, introducing a diaristic element by writing on the photographs, detailing aspects of their creation, and showing the distinctive developing marks on the Polaroid negative film he used. These strategies remind the viewer of the photograph’s presence as an object and Klett’s role as not simply an observer but an active participant.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra