December 7, 2013
Bryan Schutmaat's project Grays the Mountain Sends, which shows the stoic faces and rundown homes of fading former mining communities in the US, is a visual essay on communities in slow decline. The project combines portraits, landscapes, and still lifes and the series of photos explores the lives of working people residing in small mountain towns and mining communities in the American West, mostly in the Rocky Mountains. It explores the relationship between the people and the land.
Bryan Schutmaat, Tonopah, from Grays the Mountain Sends
Schutmaat says that he takes a few snaps with his DSLR and then comes back latter when the light is nice and sweet. He shot the series from the fall of 2010 to the spring of 2012, focusing on mining towns.
Bryan Schutmaat, Cemetery, from Grays the Mountain Sends
The pictures stand in stark contrast to the19th century's idyllic landscapes derived from the Hudson River Valley School that promised freedom and prosperity by going west. He had a narrative in mind, something about Manifest Destiny, masculinity, rugged individualism, and the idea of the American West.